Kenny rules out deal with Greens ahead of vote

ENDA KENNY has ruled out cutting a deal with Greens and independents ahead of a crisis Dáil motion on the future of the Government.

The Fine Gael leader rejected overtures by some influential Greens to make the party – all but wiped out in the local elections – an offer that might tempt it away from Fianna Fáil.

Though the Government is expected to vote down the no-confidence censure motion on it tabled by Mr Kenny, Fine Gael hope it will further ratchet-up pressure on Brian Cowen and the Greens after their humiliating performances at the ballot box.

Leading Green and former Galway mayor Niall O Brolcháin suggested in the wake of the poll rout that the party would be sympathetic to overtures from Fine Gael, but Mr Kenny rejected this.

“There will be no Government formed in the absence of an election. You need a mandate, you need to build the country in a new direction,” he said.

The move came as speculation mounted a crisis Cabinet reshuffle may be on the way in the wake of the heavy defeat the Government suffered at the polls.

Such a shake-up would pivot on whether Tánaiste Mary Coughlan – who has become a magnet for criticism from within and without Fianna Fáil in the past year – would be demoted or not.

She refused to accept the election results – which saw FF lose 80 council seats, two Dáil by-elections and be left with no MEP in Dublin – had been a disaster, and claimed to have no idea if the Taoiseach was planning to re-arrange his front bench. “It’s a difficult time for us politically, we’ve lost a considerable number of seats,” she said.

Ms Coughlan dismissed demands for a snap general election, insisting three years of the Government’s term remained.

However, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore stated the Government could no longer claim a mandate to rule.

Education Minister Batt O’Keeffe cancelled attending an EU summit in Brussels to be able to vote in the Dáil tomorrow on the no-confidence motion.

The Greens have made it clear they will support Fianna Fáil in the showdown as they await a re-negotiation of the programme fro government they agreed with Mr Cowen two years ago.

The Taoiseach has insisted the Euro and local polls have no bearing on his future as he derives his mandate from Bertie Ahern’s Dáil victory in 2007.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern accused the opposition of opportunism over the no-confidence vote and claimed the electorate wanted the Government to get on with its job not call an early general election to suit the political advantage of the Labour and Fine Gael parties.

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