Eamon Gilmore and Enda Kenny

Read more: Enda Kenny’s U.S. allies hail election victory

Horse trading between Fine Gael and Labor, the two parties who are expected to form Ireland's new coalition government,  got off to n eventful start at Leinster House yesterday as they competed to hammer out a deal.

Fine Gael is being led by finance spokesman Michael Noonan, Deputy Phil Hogan the man who orchestrated the party's election strategy, and by party primo Alan Shatter.

"People are working very hard to get a deal," Hogan told the press, describing the talks as “intensive."

Labor chief negotiator Pat Rabbitte told the press his party was getting into what he called the business end of the agenda. "The discussions up to now have been workmanlike –that’s about all I can say," he added

Labor’s negotiators include former leader Rabbitte, deputy leader Joan Burton, constitutional expert Brendan Howlin and policy director Colm O’Reardon.

The two sides have set the end of the week as their deadline to secure a stable pact and program for government.

Read more: Enda Kenny’s U.S. allies hail election victory