FIANNA Fáil’s Mary O’Rourke came under criticism from party colleagues for conceding during a radio interview that the party would not get into Government after the next election.
The former minister said her party will have “the donkey’s work done” in terms of rescuing the economy when the other parties “come in” to succeed them.
Asked if she accepted the party would not be in Government after the next general election, she said: “As of now, with 24%, how could we be? We just couldn’t be so there is no point in pie in the sky talk either.”
At last night’s meeting of the Parliamentary Party, Mayo TD, Beverly Flynn, said people should not be “talking down the party” on the public airwaves by admitting defeat.
Amid growing dissent over Mr Cowen’s leadership of Fianna Fáil, Ms O’Rourke told RTÉ Radio: “There cannot be a challenge because there is no prince or princess charming waiting to come forward.”
There is an “air of crossness within the party” approaching the end of the Dáil term but she does not expect a heave to oust leader Brian Cowen because “there is nobody willing to step into the breach”.
She said that cabinet ministers “including those who may harbour ideas of coming forward as leader” know there are very difficult budgetary decisions ahead and “they are not going to have time to be dallying among the daffodils”.
The Longford Westmeath deputy, who is an aunt of Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, said saving measures in December’s budget will be “horrendous” and while “the cuts last year were bad they were nothing as to what could be or should be or will be contemplated now in the months ahead”.
She said: “I never heard how cutbacks could ever make anybody madly popular and that is what we have and that is what we will be having, more of the same.”
Despite poor poll results, she said the Taoiseach “knows what he is about and he is determined to last the pace and to bring Ireland through the terrible time we are having”.
She said: “Brian Cowen is strong and determined and above all he is intelligent and there is nobody doubting that.”
The former minister said the summer recess is a time when “conspiracies die back” and TDs will “get to grip with issues” among their constituents.
But she said many TDs feel they “need to have the ears of ministers more”.
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