Confidence Vote Looms For Taoiseach

A Fianna Fáil TD has began the process for a motion of no confidence in Taoiseach Brian Cowen.

Backbencher Tom Kitt is believed to be taking signatures within the party, along with five other rebel deputies pushing for new leadership ahead of January's election. Eighteen signatures are needed for the motion.

Deputy Kitt said he would prefer the Taoiseach to propose a motion of confidence in himself, to get a mandate from the parliamentary party to continue in the job.

Although yet to respond to any no confidence speculation, Mr Cowen said his focus was on putting through the budget of €6 billion worth of cuts, and concluding negotiations with the European Union, the ECB and the IMF.

However, asked in Dáil yesterday if he would lead Fianna Fáil into the next election, Mr Cowen said it would be an issue for the party to decide its leader.

Mr Cowen was forced to respond after Dublin South East Fianna Fail TD Chris Andrews said he was calling for the Taoiseach to stand down in the light of developments of the past week.

Mr Andrews said there should be consultations with the Opposition to find all-party agreement to get the Budget through.

Cork North Central TD Noel O'Flynn's also told the Dáil he had written to Mr Cowen asking him to resign as Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil party leader.

In his letter to the Taoiseach, Mr O'Flynn said he had issues with Mr Cowen's 'leadership style' and 'ability to communicate with the public'.


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