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Eamon Gilmore’s challenge to the Greens: the statement in full

The full text of Eamon Gilmore’s speech on the steps of Leinster House today, calling on the Green Party to quit government.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire

The following is the full text of Eamon Gilmore’s speech delivered on the steps of Leinster House today, announcing a Labour motion of no confidence in the government and calling on the Green Party to support it.

On the morning of November 22nd John Gormley announced that the Green Party believed ‘it is time to fix a date for a general election in the second half of January 2011’. On the same evening the Taoiseach announced that there would be a general election early in the New Year once the budget had been enacted.

Since then there have been attempts by both parties to renege on this commitment and there are suggestions now that the election to elect a new government may be delayed until the end of March or even April.

In the meantime we have been left with a government that is clearly divided, politically dysfunctional and incapable of leading the country to national recovery.

The Green Party is semi-detached from the government and seems incapable of deciding whether or not they believe the Taoiseach’s account of his contacts with Sean Fitzpatrick and other Anglo-Irish directors.

At the same time Fianna Fail is deeply divided and has a Leader who clearly no longer enjoys the confidence of significant numbers of his cabinet and his parliamentary party. I do not know that the outcome of the current upheaval in Fianna Fail will be, but it is very clear that Ministers and TDs will remain pre-occupied with the leadership issue, when attention should be focussing on the need to put the country on the road to recovery.

For those who have lost their jobs, had their social welfare cut or seen their living standards reduced, the priority is not the replacement of Mr. Cowen as Leader of Fianna Fail, but the replacement of Fianna Fail with a new government with a fresh mandate and the capacity to get the country back to work.

The longer they cling to power, the longer the prospect of national recovery will be postponed.

The current situation must be brought to a head. Accordingly I have today tabled a motion of no confidence in the government. I expect that in accordance with the normal parliamentary practice and procedure the government will now allow time for a debate on this motion next week, or alternatively will table a motion of confidence in itself.

It is now make your mind up time for the Green Party, for the Independents and for Fianna Fail backbenchers who have been critical of government. Are you prepared to give the people the election they want, or are you going to prolong the life of this dysfunction, demoralised and discredited government?

Nothing summarises the failures of this government, more than its record on jobs. Since Fianna Fail was returned to power in May 2007, more than 280,000 have been added to the Live Register. The December Live Register total of 437,079 was the highest end of year figure ever recorded, and it marked the nineteenth successive month in which the figure has been over 400,000.

We need a government that works, that can get the country back to work and that will put our people back to work.

Only a new government can do this.

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