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Wednesday 29 March 2017

Cowen on board with all-party crisis talks, say Greens

Aine Kerr Political Correspondent

THE coalition partners have insisted Taoiseach Brian Cowen was "misinterpreted" when he refused to back the Green Party's proposal for an all-party approach to the economy.

Green ministers John Gormley and Eamon Ryan are now increasingly confident they can get all the political parties around the table by next week to thrash out their solutions for rescuing the economy.

Fianna Fail appeared to grow more positive towards the Green Party proposal over the weekend -- after Mr Cowen on Friday ruled out detailed talks with the opposition and suggested they come up with their own proposals.

Mr Gormley claimed the Taoiseach's comments had been "misinterpreted". He said that very often with Mr Cowen it's a question of "style and not substance".

"He has a style of delivery, sometimes, which is less than effusive," Mr Gormley said, adding that the Taoiseach was "on board".

Confident

And Communications Minister Eamon Ryan said he was also confident the opposition and government parties would meet. "No one has said no and I think, yes, understandably other parties have been cautious about it; but I believe they will each come in and see the sense in this in the national interest," he told RTE's 'The Week in Politics'.

Fianna Fail junior minister Peter Power also claimed Mr Cowen had been "misinterpreted" and was supportive of a "national consensus" on the economy.

And Finance Minister Brian Lenihan last night rowed into the debate by declaring a "united national effort" to halt the country's financial collapse was required.

He said it would be "very helpful" to have a "common analysis".

Under the Green Party's plan, the cross-party talks would include the Taoiseach, the Finance Minister, the leaders of Fine Gael, Labour, the Green Party and Sinn Fein, and their individual finance spokespeople.

The Green Party is trying to get agreement between government and opposition parties to discover what each party agrees and doesn't agree on.

Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Fein will learn just how stark the economic crisis is when the Department of Finance shows them the financial figures in briefings over the coming days.

Irish Independent

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