Enda Kenny, the leader of Fine Gael, Ireland's main oppostion party has said that he would be happy to meet with Prime Minister Brian Cowen for cross party agreement talks. He added that he was glad that Mr Cowen was "seeing the light".

Mr Kenny's comments come in response to a letter sent by Mr Cowen requesting a meeting with party leaders. On Wednesday afternoon, Brian Cowen wrote to both party leaders stating: "Notwithstanding the major political differences between us, I believe that the pursuit of the national interest and the common good must have priority at this time."

Mr Cowen outlined a restricted agenda for the poposed meetings when he said that opposition parties should seek to "confirm, in the first instance, that we share the objective of putting the public finances back on a sustainable footing by 2014."

Mr Kenny said the letter represented "both a change in attitude and tone from the Taoiseach", which the Fine Gael leader welcomed.

The Labour party said they were unsure what Mr Cowen was proposing. A spokesperson for Eamon Gilmore, the leader of the Labour party said he was not opposed to talks but was curious as to why Mr Cowen has made a “U-turn”.

The government is due to present the Euopean Commision with a four-year plan to reduce Ireland's budget deficit by mid-November. Cross party agreement could help achieved goals for the strategic plan.