x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Fine Gael and Labour agree to Irish coalition

The two parties that topped last month¿s elections in Ireland, Fine Gael and Labour, agreed yesterday to share power and work together on slashing a massive budget deficit.

DUBLIN // Ireland is set for a coalition government after the two parties that topped last month's elections, Fine Gael and Labour, agreed yesterday to share power and work together on slashing a massive deficit.

The Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, told RTE state radio: "I am happy to tell you that we have concluded an agreement," adding: "Some of the final details are now being worked out for presentation to both parties."

The February 25 election has redrawn the political map of the eurozone nation as voters hammered Fianna Fail, the party which had dominated Irish politics for 80 years.

The former ruling party's collapse came three months after Fianna Fail agreed an EU-IMF bailout worth €85 billion (Dh422bn), which many Irish see as a humiliation.

Mr Kenny, a 59-year-old former teacher, is keen to wrap up the coalition talks quickly so that he can get on with trying to renegotiate the terms of the bailout.

In the election Kenny's opposition Fine Gael became the largest party with 76 seats in the 166-member Dail, the lower house of parliament, after the historic defeat of Fianna Fail.

Labour has 37 and Fianna Fail was left with just 20 seats, down from the 78 it won in 2007.

Fianna Fail's former coalition partner, the Green Party, lost all of its six seats.