Ireland's political parties are edging towards an agreement that will enable the formation of a new government, Acting Finance Minister Michael Noonan said on Thursday, after weeks of talks aimed at breaking a post-election deadlock.
Ireland joined a growing list of eurozone countries with splintered parliaments in late February, when voters angry at not feeling any lift from Europe's fastest growing economy ousted the coalition government but didn't pick a clear alternative.
"There'll be a government, I think. It's more likely now. It's moving in that direction," Noonan told reporters on Thursday. "Things are moving slowly but satisfactorily. I don't want to put a timeline on it."
Noonan's Fine Gael party is in talks to persuade its long-time rival, the centre-right Fianna Fail, to enable a minority government by abstaining on key votes.
Fine Gael would then need to secure the support of six lawmakers outside the party to give it the 58 votes it needs to pass legislation.
Noonan added that there had been no perceived change in market sentiment towards Ireland from the election or Britain's upcoming referendum on European Union membership, and that neither of these had delayed any foreign direct investment into Ireland.