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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 11 December, 2018
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Finance Bill deal agreed in time for Feb election

Three of the four opposition parties have reached a decision with the government on a timetable for the Finance Bill – and a 25 February election now looks likely.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire

LABOUR, FINE GAEL AND THE Green Party have agreed to facilitate the passing of the Finance Bill this week so that the Dáil can be dissolved by Tuesday.

An election on 25 February now looks likely.

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan met with opposition parties’ finance spokespersons this evening to discuss a schedule for the passage of the Bill.

All stages of the Bill will go through the Dáil by Thursday, and then go before the Seanad on Friday and Saturday to go over the Bill, Eamonn Ryan told RTÉ’s Six One News. The Dáil would then meet on Tuesday to be dissolved.

Some elements of the Finance Bill may have to be left out in order for it to pass quickly. Brian Lenihan confirmed that the provisions on Civil Partnership would certainly “fall by the wayside” this week, and said they could be dealt with later in the year.

After being asked by Lenihan to leave the meeting at the Department of Finance, Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty said Labour and Fine Gael had agreed to facilitate the Bill in a “grubby little deal”.

Sinn Féin had wanted Labour to pursue its motion of no confidence in the Dáil tomorrow, rather than support the passing of the Finance Bill. Doherty said the Dáil could be dissolved by Tuesday.

Sinn Féin said Doherty had initially refused to leave the meeting, saying he was as entitled to hear the discussion as the other elected representatives, but was again asked to leave during a break and at that point left the meeting.

Speaking outside Government Buildings this evening, Eamon Gilmore said there had never been a motion of no confidence in a government that was better timed or more effective than that his party had introduced. He said Labour had achieved its objective of bringing an end to this government by introducing that motion.

He said the no confidence motion was still an option to ensure the dissolution of the Dáil next week, but he expects the business of this Dáil to reach an end on Thursday.

He said he expects polling to be held on 25 February, and reaffirmed his party’s refusal to enter government in coalition with Sinn Féin.

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