BRIAN COWEN HAS EMERGED from this evening’s Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting unscathed as leader of the party, despite disaffected backbencher Noel O’Flynn warning earlier it would be a “bare-knuckled” meeting.
The Taoiseach was warmly received when he addressed the meeting, according to RTÉ’s Nine O’Clock News.
The general consensus emerging from the meeting was that the party would focus its efforts on passing Budget 2011 next month before turning its attention to its own leadership issue.
Noel Dempsey said the focus should be on getting the Budget through “in the national interest”.
Tom Kitt echoed fellow TD Dempsey’s sentiments, saying the party would get through this budget and then “deal with our situation”. However, he confirmed that he would be voting for a different party leader when the opportunity arises.
Mary O’Rourke TD suggested that the party holds a special meeting to be held in the New Year for potential leaders to put themselves forward for the position.
Not all of Cowen’s parliamentary party colleagues appear to have been fully placated over his continued leadership, however, as TD Ned O’Keeffe called for a general election to be held immediately.