Bill Agreement Puts Dáil Election On February 25

The date for the Irish Republic's election has been agreed for February 25 after the Opposition and the Government agreed to fast track the crucial Finance Bill through the Dáil by Friday.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has chaired a Cabinet meeting in Government Buildings to discuss how the Finance Bill can get past all stages in the Dáil by Thursday evening.

According to the Government this morning, under an agreement reached last night between political parties, the business of the Oireachtas will be given over completely this week to ensure the speedy passage of the Finance Bill.

The move also includes an agreement for the Seanad to be in session this coming Saturday.

The Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan said today that he welcomed the agreed timetable for passage of the Finance Bill.

"I welcome the agreement of a timetable for the Finance Bill and I thank the Greens, Fine Gael and Labour for their constructive approach. After detailed discussions we have reached the agreed timetable to allow for the Finance Bill to pass all stages by the 29th January 2011.

"I welcome the additional day of consideration in the Seanad to allow for appropriate reflection on the text and further consideration of the Bill. Normal Dail business has been suspended so as to allow the Dail to devote its full attention to the Finance Bill."

The Dáil will start this afternoon at 2.30pm. The session will begin with an Order of Business, which will set the business for the week.

The house will then move to the Second Stage of the Finance Bill while private Members Time tonight will be given over to the Second Stage debate.

Commenting on the agreement, Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said he wanted to emphasise that the Labour Party remained strongly opposed to major provisions of the Finance Bill.

"All we have agreed with the other parties is a timetable for debate in the Dail. We will table amendments in the normal way and call votes as appropriate.

"The end of this government will be greeted with great relief by the vast majority of people in this country. They want a new beginning. They want to see a process of national recovery. They want a sense of hope again."


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