Galway TD Grealish votes against Govt

The Government has survived the first test of the new Dáil term, winning a vote on the length of time set aside to debate the extension of the bank guarantee scheme.

The Government has survived the first test of the new Dáil term, winning a vote on the length of time set aside to debate the extension of the bank guarantee scheme.

However Galway West TD Noel Grealish voted against the Coalition for the first time. The Independent deputy had threatened to withdraw his support for the Government in protest at cuts to health services in the West.

The vote was won 81-75 in the Government's favour, with other Independents Joe Behan, Jackie Healy-Rae, Michael Lowry and Mattie McGrath all voting with the Coalition.

Deputies will tonight be asked to approve legislation extending the bank guarantee scheme despite the full cost of the Anglo Irish Bank bailout not set to be revealed until tomorrow.

Earlier, during the first Leader's Questions since the Dáil reconvened today, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny rounded on the Taoiseach and the Finance Minister accusing them of having colluded with bankers two years ago, when first implementing the bank guarantee scheme.

Deputy Kenny also called on Brian Cowen to provide assurances that tomorrows expected announcement of further recapitalisation for Anglo will be the last time that taxpayers are asked to dip into their pockets to help the stricken bank.

In retort Mr Cown accused Deputy Kenny of misrepresenting the situation, saying his Government acted in the national interest in devising the bank guarantee.

"Let's stop peddling the myth that the guarantee was a misguided intervention," Mr Cowen said in the house.

"It was supported… by the vast majority of this house, including your own (Mr Kenny's) party, and it is thanks to that decision that we do have a banking system today.

"We are in the process of restructuring that banking system - it was a necessary decision."

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