independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Gilmore at odds with Burton over war cabinet

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore is adamant that the so-called 'war cabinet' will stay in place for the lifetime of the Government, despite criticism from his deputy leader Joan Burton.

The second Labour member of the Economic Management Council (EMC) 'war cabinet', Public Spending Minister Brendan Howlin, has also defended it as "one of the successes of the Government".

The EMC is made up of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Mr Gilmore, Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Mr Howlin. It discusses economic policy and troubleshoots on contentious areas between the coalition parties.

But Ms Burton has complained about being excluded from the preparation of decisions to be made by Cabinet. The Social Protection Minister believes that ministers from big spending departments should be included in the deliberations.

Mr Gilmore told the Irish Independent that the EMC served a "broader function" than merely dealing with the economic crisis and that it would remain in place.

He said: "It serves a broader function. One is that it facilitates joined-up government between the two parties, first of all. But also joined-up government at the centre of government on key economic issues.

"It is working very well and I don't foresee us changing that in the lifetime of this Government."

Mr Howlin said the EMC had "worked remarkably well". He continued: "The EMC is another sub-committee of Cabinet and it works very effectively.

Strategy

"It was clear to us in the briefings we got before the election and more especially after the election that there was no joined-up government in place for a considerable period in the run-up to the election.

"We wanted a common economic strategy that was constantly revisited and refined by a small team of people calling in those elements of the public service that were required for each individual decision, whether it was the Central Bank, the NTMA or whatever.

"It has worked remarkably well and has been one of the successes of the Government."

Irish Independent

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