Ireland’s PM to dissolve parliament in New Year

Monday, November 22, 2010

DUBLIN - Ireland’s Prime Minister Brian Cowen announced Monday that he would dissolve the Irish parliament in the New Year after December’s austerity budget has been enacted.

Cowen has said he will seek a dissolution of the Dail (the Irish parliament) after “the current budgetary process is complete”.

Speaking at government buildings, Cowen said it was “a matter of importance that the Dail and government should continue to discharge its obligations to bring forward solutions to the current economic position”.

He said the government would publish its four-year plan this week, present a budget to the Dail in December, and continue discussions with the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

Cowen’s shock decision came under unprecedented pressure Monday after both his coalition partners in the Green Party and the opposition Labour and Fine Gael parties demanded an early election in the wake of the country’s bailout.

There had been feverish expectation that Cowen would announce his department Monday evening as support for the government which has a majority of three appeared to be crumbling.

The terms of the EU/IMF rescue package for Ireland were still being negotiated in Dublin, and with protesters on the streets of the capital.

Ireland’s formal request for aid to bailout its troubled banking sector and tackle its sovereign debt problems had been approved by eurozone ministers Sunday night.

The precise amount of the funding has not been revealed, but it is reported to be between 80 billion and 90 billion euros (about $110 to 120 billion).

The government is to publish a four-year economic plan Wednesday.

In a fast-moving political situation, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny had said earlier Monday: “What is needed now is an immediate general election so that a new government, with a clear parliamentary majority, can prepare the four-year economic plan, complete negotiations with the EU and IMF, and frame a budget for 2011.”

Filed under: Economy

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