A week to forget:Green Party Quit, Leadership Battle Intensifies

The political turmoil engulfing Ireland at present shows no sign of stopping.

One day after Brian Cowen officially stepped down as leader of Fianna Fail, Green Party leader John Gormley pulled the plug on the government coalition. The decision by the Greens to withdraw from government may well bring forward the election date, which had been fixed for March 11th.   

He said that the party’s patience had finally run out and that the people of Ireland had been left ‘aghast’ at recent political developments.

Mr Gormley said the ongoing ‘saga’ over the question of the Fianna Fáil leadership as well as a breakdown in communication over cabinet promotions were at the heart of the Green Party’s decision.

He said he informed the Taoiseach and other ministers of his party’s decision to pull out of Government before it was announced yesterday.

Crucially however the Greens have agreed to help the opposition get the finance bill passed in parliament. Both Fine Gael and Labour have admitted it is now time for all the parties to work together in order to get the bill passed, whihc would serve the best interests of the country and its people. However Sinn Fèin has said they will oppose the bill.

Elsewhere, the battle lines for the leadership of Fianna Fàil have been drawn in the wake of Cowen`s reisgnation. Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan, former Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport Mary Hanafin and Minister for Social Protection Eamon O`Cuiv have all thrown their names into the hat.

Junior minister Conor Lenihan has revealed he will not be contesting the leadership battle and has refused to give details of who he will be supporting. Mr Lenihan is keeping his cards close to his chest, as he will be looking to work closely with the new leader, if it is his brother Brian or not.

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