The Green Party are to pull out of the coalition government in Dublin, party leader John Gormley has announced. The party’s two Ministers have submitted their resignations from Brian Cowen’s rapidly diminishing Cabinet.
“Our patience has reached an end... we have decided we can no longer continue in Government,” he said.
Gormley said the “on-going saga” in relation to the Fianna Fail leadership had been a total distraction from the business of Government and was still not resolved.
“The Irish people have begun to lose confidence in politics and in the political process,” he said.
The Greens announced their decision to quit government in Dublin this afternoon one day after Brian Cowen stood down as leader of Fianna Fail, but opted to remain as Taoiseach.
Relations between the parties collapsed last week after the Greens vetoed Cowen’s plans for the appointment of six new ministers and precipitated the calling of the election for March 11. However, it now appears certain that date will now be brought forward as Fianna Fail no longer enjoys a working majority in the Dail.
It now appears Brian Cowen will remain in government temporarily, at least until Friday. Cowen’s regime remains on life-support, thanks to the support of Fine Gael, Labour and the Green Party for the rapid passage of the controversial Finance Bill to avoid it forming part of the election debate.
The Finance Bill implements most of the content of Fianna Fail’s 2011 Austerity Budget for the 26 County state, under the loan requirements of the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank. It forms the first instalment of Fianna Fail’s four-year plan for reducing the budget deficit.
Sinn Fein vice President Mary Lou Mc Donald said the instability and chaos of the last week had made the Greens’ continuation in government untenable.
The move was “no great surprise” to Sinn Fein, she said.
“The instability and chaos of the last week had made their position untenable. The Government is in crisis and clearly incapable of governing, with an unprecedented situation where most members of the cabinet are now responsible for multiple portfolios.
“If the Green party had any backbone they would have pulled out of government long before now. They will undoubtedly attempt to make a virtue out of a necessity.
“Having clung to power as long as possible they are now on the verge of leaving form a position of ignominy rather than strength. They are leaving government having failed to ensure the implementation of their key priorities including local government reform, banning corporate donations and passing the Climate Change Bill.
“We need an immediate election. The Finance Bill can and should be dealt with by the new Dail”.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams called on the Taoiseach to go to Aras an Uachtaran immediately and seek the dissolution of the Dail.
“The instability must be brought to end.
“It appears that there is to be grubby deal between the establishment parties - Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour and the Greens - to get the Finance Bill through before a the general election.
“There is no popular support for the measures contained in this bill which legislates for many of the cuts contained in last December’s budget. The Finance Bill published last week should be scrapped.
“The ‘consensus for cuts’ parties are colluding to deny the people their say on the economic direction of the state.
“We need an election now where all parties present their economic alternatives. We need to let the people decide. There then needs to be a new budget and a new finance bill.”