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Opposition renew general election calls after Cowen victory

Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin all demand an immediate general election in the wake of Brian Cowen’s victory.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive

IRELAND’S OPPOSITION PARTIES have renewed their calls for an immediate general election, in the aftermath of Brian Cowen’s victory in yesterday’s crucial motion of confidence in Fianna Fáil.

Fine Gael communications spokesman Leo Varadkar said that although Fianna Fáíl had voted by a majority to support the leader, it would be impossible for the party’s TDs to reunite behind him to finish the government’s legislative agenda.

On RTÉ’s Prime Time, Varadkar – who only seven months ago had publicly declared no confidence in his own party leader – said that Fianna Fáil now needs to face the public and allow an election to be held as soon as possible.

Labour finance spokesperson, Joan Burton, told TheJournal.ie that while the outcome of the vote had been widely predicted, Cowen’s victory meant that Fianna Fáil “is left tonight in very considerable disarray”.

“The three most senior people in this government were completely at odds with each other,” Burton claimed.

Micheál Martin has no confidence in Brian Cowen, and meanwhile we have the extraordinary events relating to Brian Lenihan, who it seems – according to two deputies – has been actively wanting a change of leadership from Brian Cowen to himself.

Insisting that Ireland’s government was now in ‘paralysis’, Burton said the interests of the country “should come before the interests of Fianna Fáil. We need a general election sooner rather than later.”

Sinn Féin’s marine and agriculture spokesman Martin Ferris said he did not think the country was “worried” about who was to lead Fianna Fáil into the general election.

It would be far more appropriate for Micheál Martin, or Brian Cowen or whoever’s the leader at a given time, that they give the people their sovereign wish. That wish is a general election.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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