Election now could damage economy, says minister
FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan last night indicated that holding a general election at this time would be damaging to the economy.
Mr Lenihan also defended his claim at last year's Budget that the economy had turned a corner. He rejected calls from the opposition for the Government to call an election.
"I find it very difficult to see how we can have a general election in the midst of the type of international financial difficulties we are facing at the moment and how it will assist us in any way," he said.
Mr Lenihan defended his "turned a corner" claim on the basis that "you have to judge any comment made in the context of its time".
He said that at the end of 2009, the country had seen a 10pc decline in annual national wealth.
"At the time, my department forecast a small decline this year in GDP and in GNP and, in fact, as this year has materialised, we have seen not a small decline but an actual return to economic growth, but on a very modest scale.
"So we have turned a corner in terms of the real economy here in Ireland, but I do accept that the problems of the banking sector and the public budgets remain very great problems," he said.
He said 2010 had shown itself to be "a year of stability".