Party to call for Finance Bill to be fast-tracked through Oireachtas


FINE GAEL:FINE GAEL will call for the Finance Bill to be fast-tracked through the Oireachtas this week, with the help of three all-night sessions, in discussions with Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan today.

Fine Gael finance spokesman Michael Noonan said last night he saw no reason why the Bill could not come before the Dáil tomorrow and complete its passage by Friday.

He said his party would support some provisions and oppose others but would generally facilitate its speedy passage through the Oireachtas.

Mr Noonan and the other parties’ finance spokespeople are due to discuss the Bill with Mr Lenihan this afternoon.

Mr Noonan said he had influenced the Greens’ decision to pull out of Government by indicating on Saturday that he would co- operate on fast-tracking the Bill.

Green Minister Eamon Ryan subsequently contacted Fine Gael’s Simon Coveney to sound out the latter’s views on enacting the Bill quickly. “We have given them a way out and we’re not going to welsh out on that,” Mr Noonan told RTÉ television last night.

Earlier, Fine Gael deputy finance spokesman Brian Hayes confirmed there had been contacts last night with the Green Party on the Bill and he said he shared the Labour Party view that the legislation could be passed by Friday.

“It is Fine Gael’s view, as it is the Greens’ view, that the Dáil can be dissolved next Friday and that the Finance Bill can pass all stages in both Houses of the Oireachtas,” he said.

The party’s health spokesman, Dr James Reilly, said: “If there is a guarantee that the Finance Bill goes through at close of business on Friday and the Dáil dissolves and the people get the election they have been waiting for, Fine Gael will withdraw its motion of no confidence.”

On Saturday, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said he would table a motion of no confidence in the Taoiseach unless he dissolved the Government.

Mr Kenny said it was “madness” for Mr Cowen to believe he could resign as Fianna Fáil leader yet remain as Taoiseach.

“Brian Cowen should have gone to Áras an Úachtaráin and asked the President for a dissolution of the Dáil,” he added.