The Green Party has called for a date for a 26-County general election to be set for the second half of January.
The Greens are the junior partners in the coalition government with Fianna Fail, which is now expected to resign ahead of the Christmas break.
Amid intense public anger and dismay over last night’s announcement of an IMF/EU bailout, the Greens made their announcement a press briefing in Government Buildings this morning.
In a sign of the complete disarray in the Dublin government, Fianna Fail’s Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan denied the news even as the Green Party briefing was being prepared.
The Green Party leader and Minister for the Environment John Gormley said that he had informed the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, of the decision and it was now up to Cowen to set a date for the poll.
Gormley criticised Fianna Fáil over the bailout plans, accusing ministers of “bad communication” over the IMF bailout.
He defended his party’s decision to stay in government with Fianna Fáil until after the Budget on December 7th, insisting it was in the national interest to ensure it was passed. He said the Irish people need political stability over the coming months.
Gormley yesterday sought to defend the bailout amid criticism over the loss of sovereignty once the IMF and EU loan agreement is in place. He said sovereignty was now a “moot point”.
“There is legitimate talk about an erosion of sovereignty but I think it’s important to remember that our sovereignty was eroded when we joined the EU,” he said.
Gormley also said today his party was “proud” of what had been achieved since it went into coalition with Fianna Fáil following the general election of 2007.