FG to move writs for byelections


Fine Gael plans to move the writs for the three outstanding byelections in Dublin South, Donegal South West and Waterford when the Dáil resumes on Wednesday, the party announced today.

Party spokesman Phil Hogan said: "It is clear that the Government is unravelling. We need an immediate general election for a new government with a new mandate who can bring forward the new ideas we need to get our country working again.”

“With the Taoiseach refusing to concede this point, we are seeking to have full parliamentary representation in the three constituencies where bye-elections are outstanding and we will move to do so on Wednesday,” he said.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has so far refused to be drawn on a date for the three outstanding byelections, insisting no decision had been made on the matter.

There is an expectation, however, the Government may seek to hold them on the same day next spring, possibly along with the Dublin mayoral election and the referendum on children’s rights.

The High Court will hear a judicial review application by Sinn Féin Senator Pearse Doherty next month challenging the Government to move the writ for the Donegal South West byelection.

Mr Hogan called on the Green Party and Independent TDs to support the Fine Gael motions on Wednesday to give “full effect to proper parliamentary democracy”

“It's time now that the Green Party and Independent Deputies stood up to Fianna Fáil who are intent on wasting €100,000 in an unnecessary High Court case on fulfilling the holding of the byelection in Donegal South West," he said.

The unemployment and emigration crisis will be top of Fine Gael’s agenda when the Dáil resumes, the party said today.

Enterprise and jobs spokesman Richard Bruton revealed the party will use its first Dail motion of the new term to highlight its jobs plan.

Mr Bruton said the jobs crisis is acutely affecting our young generation. “Over 80% of the jobs lost have hit those under the age of 30,” said Mr Bruton.

“Ireland is facing into a massive brain drain, with 100,000 already departed from our shores and another 65,000 set to join them this year. Many of these are highly educated graduates that we need to rebuild the shattered economy.

“The damaging effects of this recession could have been avoided.” Mr Bruton maintained that both before and during the jobs crisis Fine Gael consistently warned the Government about the destruction of the export sector, spending on the back of a temporary building boom, the need to reform public sector and the danger of making taxpayers underwrite bank losses.

He said if Government had followed his party’s job creation proposals, set out before the last budget, 50,000 people would be back in work or training while the country still met its fiscal responsibilities.

Key initiatives include selling old State assets to provide the equity base for a major investment programme in key economic arteries without depending on Exchequer borrowing and cutting the cost of employing people by reducing employers PRSI.

He also plans to take up the challenge of Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary who promises six million extra tourists if the airport tax is scrapped.

Additional reporting PA