Cowen pledges to protect sovereignty


THE TAOISEACH pledged to protect the State’s sovereignty and challenged the Opposition to support the four-year economic plan and the budget.

“Whatever is in the essential interests of this country to do to bring about stability, growth and recovery and ensure that the banking system will function openly as soon as possible in the market, would be the objective of any Government,” Brian Cowen said.

“In doing all that, we will seek to protect our essential national interests and to ensure that the outcome is such that the country’s sovereignty and sovereign debt is not unduly imposed upon with a burden it cannot bear.”

Mr Cowen said the Dáil could assist by ensuring that the four-year plan and the budget, as supported by Europe and other jurisdictions at the moment, were passed so that the fiscal strategy was put through.

“It is essential for the future of this country that it is.”

Mr Cowen said Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan had said earlier in the day that discussions had taken place in the last few days regarding “technical matters”.

Fianna Fáil backbencher Michael McGrath said that taxpayers and citizens should not be asked to take on the bill if the outcome of the discussions was that more funding was needed for the Irish banks.

“We have already committed up to €50 billion to rescue the Irish banks and the burden of any further funding should not be put on the shoulders of this generation or any future generation,” Mr McGrath added.