‘Cowen should not apologise, he should resign’

LABOUR PARTY leader Eamon Gilmore has said the country does not need an apology from Taoiseach Brian Cowen, it requires his resignation.

Mr Gilmore said he was not concerned about the content or circumstances of Mr Cowen’s televised expression of regret on Wednesday.

“People in this country are worried about more than whether the Office of the Taoiseach is offended. We are in a real economic mess, a real hole, people out of work, people with very real financial problems that they have to try and deal with. They are not being dealt with by Brian Cowen and by Fianna Fáil.

“They want a change. The one thing that Brian Cowen can do for this country, and it is not an apology into the cameras or whatever, the one good thing Brian Cowen can do for this country is to go up to Áras an Úachtaráin, seek a dissolution of the Dáil and hold a General Election.”

Mr Gilmore was speaking at the end of the Labour Party’s pre-Dáil parliamentary party meeting at the Abbey Hotel in Roscommon.

He took the opportunity to slap down criticism from Enterprise Minister Batt O’Keeffe who said he had spent the last number of days finding holes in the Labour Party’s policies.

“Batt O’Keeffe is one of the senior economic ministers in this Government. [He is] The minister who is presiding over the highest level of unemployment that we’ve ever had. And what is he doing? Surfing the web to dig up something that he can go cat-calling and name-calling at the Labour Party,” he said.

Mr Gilmore said a Labour-led Government would not countenance letting the country default on any of its debt no matter how costly the repayments became.

“The state has to honour its obligations and the Labour Party in Government will ensure Ireland honours its obligations,” he said.

Yesterday morning the price of Irish bonds jumped to a record high. This means it will cost even more to service our spiralling debt.

The Labour Party’s finance spokeswoman, Joan Burton, said the Taoiseach’s Morning Ireland interview and apology put Ireland in a bad light at a time when investors were already doubtful about our ability to survive.

The international media had been turning against Ireland more and more throughout the summer and this week served to sour the mood even more.

“What has happened in relation to his performance, as the Taoiseach, as the Prime Minister of the country, is that unfortunately it has if you like refocused attention on this feeling that has been widespread in the international media at the end of August.

“Mr Cowen’s misfortune this week has refocused attention on that, it has brought all those doubts rushing back and the consequence is that we see what’s happened today,” she said.

Ms Burton said the country could no longer afford Fianna Fáil’s banking policy.


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