The formation of the new Government was carefully time to coincide with yesterday’s TV news bulletins, it was claimed in the Dáil by Labour leader Eamon Gilmore today.
Comprehensive footage of the key events of the day, including the Taoiseach Brian Cowen and his Cabinet getting their seals of office at Áras an Uachtaráin, were beamed live onto RTE and TV3.
An angry Gilmore today said Mr Cowen showed disrespect for TDs and warned that such behaviour will lead to more motions of no confidence in the Coalition in the future.
“It was clear what was going on,” Mr Gilmore said. “It was clear that the events here yesterday were timed to coincide with main news bulletins.
“That is very admirable news management and my congratulations to the people who organised that.”
But he warned: “If that practice continues into the future, the members of this Government will be going through those lobbies an awful lot more often than they may like to be.”
New Tanaiste Mary Coughlan said TDs had agreed that yesterday’s debate on the nomination of ministers would end at 8.30pm.
Mr Gilmore claimed Opposition parties wanted the discussion to be extended but were refused “in an arrogant way” by the Taoiseach.
Ms Coughlan said: “Luckily, as a woman of compassion I don’t take threats. But I have to say I and the Taoiseach and this Government have the highest regard for this House.”
Mr Gilmore replied: “I don’t make threats but I do promise that if what happened yesterday is repeated, there will be a consequence for it.”
The Dun Laoghaire TD said it reminded him of the memo sent to British government ministers on 9/11 that it was a ’good day to release bad news’.
He also criticised yesterday’s publication of the Morris Tribunal report as “an act of political cynicism.”
“It’s release on the day that a government was being formed was clearly a well news-managed event and it doesn’t behove any new practices on the part of this new Government.”