THE Green Party’s decision to demand a general election came after they were given “vague” and “unclear” information by their Government partners about a possible bailout.
The junior coalition partner had been discussing the possibility of pulling out of Government since the weekend before last when the international press reported that Ireland would need a bailout.
The lack of information coming from their senior Government partners at that time did not “inspire confidence” in the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, one senior Green Party source said last night.
Announcing they will pull out of Government if an election is not called for the second half of January, Green Party leader John Gormley, said the people of Ireland felt “misled and betrayed” following the “dramatic” week which saw the IMF and EU coming in to provide financial aid.
“We have now reached a point where Irish people need political certainty to take them beyond the coming few months, so we believe it’s time to fix a date for a general election in the second half of January 2011,” Mr Gormley said.
He criticised the “bad communication” in Government last week when a number of senior ministers denied Ireland would be seeking assistance.
“The answers we got were somewhat jesuitical, they were not clear enough.
“We were given an official line... which was essentially a mixed message, basically along the line that discussions were taking place but not negotiations. Because of the vagueness of the message, we felt it better and a much wiser approach to say nothing,” Mr Gormley added.
The junior coalition party, which entered Government in June 2007, said it would stay in Government until after the Budget is passed because “leaving the country without a Government while these matters are unresolved would be very damaging and would breach our duty of care.”
The party made the decision on Saturday based on an unanimous agreement amongst its six TDs and two Senators, but only decided to tell the Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, yesterday morning.
They had discussed it on a daily basis throughout last week and ministers John Gormley and Eamon Ryan had consulted their colleagues by telephone throughout Sunday while they were on breaks from a cabinet meeting on the four-year budget plan.
Mr Gormley said since they entered Government, the party had “worked to fix and reform the economy” but he added that “it has been difficult”.
He said he and his colleagues were “deeply upset” by the arrival of the IMF in Ireland last week.
“We’ve been in Government in the very worst time in our country’s history. It has not been easy for the party which is in Government for the first time,” he said.
But he added the party can be “enormously proud” of what they had achieved.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved