Fianna Fáil agrees to hold Dáil vote on EU-IMF deal


The Government is to hold a Dáil debate on the issue of the €85 billion EU-IMF bailout next Wednesday.

The decision was made following a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party in Dublin today.

The motion, put forward by TDs Michael McGrath and Thomas Byrne, was unanimously passed.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen said that while the memorandum of understanding has been put in place legally and in the national interests of the country, the Opposition “continues to try and make the public believe there is an easy way out of the country’s funding crisis”.

He said given the seriousness of the situation he does not believe this “myth can be allowed to continue unchallenged”.

Mr Cowen said: “I look forward to the debate when we will once again give the Opposition the opportunity to either come clean, recognise that this deal is essential and in the best interests of the country, or spell out their alternative.”

He said debating the motion in the Dáíl will give “certainty” to the international community that the deal has been confirmed by parliament.

Fine Gael said it would decide next week how it would vote. "This is a bit of grandstanding by the Taoiseach to quell a potential rebellion in his party," finance spokesman Michael Noonan said. "We will consider this matter at the Fine Gael front bench meeting next week."

The Labour Party said it would vote against the motion.  "Labour would vote against it because we consider it a bad deal," a spokeswoman said.

Independent TDs Michael Lowry and Jackie Healy-Rae said they would support the bill. "We'll be voting in favour of it next week, supporting the Government," said Mr Lowry.

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said solicitors acting on his behalf contacted the Chief State Solicitor to demand that the memorandum of understanding relating to the deal be put before the Dáil.

“Once again, as was the case with the Donegal South West by-election, it has taken legal initiatives by Sinn Féin to force this totally discredited Government to live up to its democratic responsibilities," he said, adding that his party would vote against the motion.