Irish premier won`t quit over Ireland debt crisis

Last Updated: Monday, January 17, 2011 - 00:45

Dublin: Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen
on Sunday announced he won`t resign despite intense criticism of
his management of the country`s European-record deficit and
its international bailout.

Cowen`s declaration follows several days of talks with
lawmakers in his Fianna Fail party. Many wanted him to quit
immediately so that a new leader can lead the party into a
spring election that, under Cowen`s leadership, it is widely
expected to lose.

But in a trademark defiant performance, Cowen said he
instead would mount a motion of confidence in his own
leadership on Tuesday at a meeting of party lawmakers.

He said he wasn`t willing to wait indefinitely for one or
more of his Cabinet colleagues to mount a direct challenge to
oust him.

Cowen said he was confident of winning the secret-ballot
vote and lead Fianna Fail to a seventh straight election
victory.

Fianna Fail, which means "soldiers of destiny" in Gaelic,
has governed Ireland almost continuously since 1987, but has
plummeted to historic lows in recent opinion polls.

Cowen`s determination to stay leaves unsettled the
question of whether his government will survive long enough to
pass the emergency deficit-slashing legislation required by
the USD 90 billion bailout from the European Union and
International Monetary Fund.

Fianna Fail rivals could quickly pursue a no-confidence
motion to try to oust him. Among those who have publicly
voiced a desire to replace Cowen are Finance Minister Brian
Lenihan, Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin and Arts and
Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin.

Cowen rose to power in 2008 as Ireland`s 13-year Celtic
Tiger economic boom was giving way to a property-market
implosion and banking crisis.

He has faced rising accusations in recent weeks of making
decisions that benefited corrupt bankers far more than
taxpayers, who have been burdened with a bank-rescue bill
expected to top USD 65 billion.

The pressure for Cowen`s removal flared last week when a
new book revealed that Cowen held several dinners and social
events, including a day long golf outing, with top bankers in
the weeks before his government decided to insure all of the
borrowings of Dublin banks, an internationally unprecedented
move at the time.

PTI



First Published: Monday, January 17, 2011 - 00:45

More from zeenews

 
comments powered by Disqus