Government 'is falling apart' and should go -- Kenny
Published 22/02/2010 | 05:00
THE Government is "falling apart from the centre" and does not have the moral authority to lead, Fine Gael claimed yesterday.
Party leader Enda Kenny insisted the credibility of the coalition was in tatters following the resignation of Willie O'Dea.
And he said the lack of judgment and integrity shown during the controversy was proof that the administration should go.
The comments came as the fallout from the resignation of Mr O'Dea continued. On Thursday, he resigned from his post as Defence Minister after it emerged he had sworn a false affidavit to the High Court.
Green Party leader John Gormley had said his party would withdraw from Government if Mr O'Dea continued in office.
Launching Fine Gael's FairCare campaign, which pledges to provide free GP care and universal health insurance, Mr Kenny argued the events of the past week had seriously damaged the Government.
"What we have witnessed in the last week is a Government falling apart from the centre," he said.
"What the people in Ireland saw on their television sets was a Government, and members of a Government, sneering, laughing and satirising and an opposition party standing up for the interest of the people and high standards in public office.
"This will not go away and this Government's judgment and credibility is now seriously damaged," he added.
Mr Kenny strongly criticised Justice Minister Dermot Ahern's behaviour during the confidence debate for Mr O'Dea.
"The situation where the Minister for Justice sat beside the former Minister for Defence, who was the subject of a motion of confidence, sneering and laughing, when he is the minister who oversees standards in respect of the law being implemented, was most unbecoming," he said.
"It sent out a very, very bad message about low standards in high places."
"From that point of view, this Government has lost credibility with the people. It has lost its integrity and it has lost its moral authority to govern."
And he warned that it was not correct to continue on as if nothing happened. "It is not correct for the Government to say we can move on and its business as usual," he said.
"They have seriously damaged the profession of politics. They have sent out the wrong message entirely about standards that are accommodated by this Government.
"I'm saying the Government should go. I have no confidence in this Government or any faith in the way they do their business."