Lenihan the butt of Commons joke
BRITAIN'S shadow chancellor appeared to take a swipe at Finance Minister Brian Lenihan yesterday during the House of Commons debate on swingeing spending cutbacks in the UK.
Labour's Alan Johnson dismissed UK Chancellor George Osborne's claims he had international backing for budget cuts, saying Ireland received similar support before the crippled economy shrank again.
To laughter in the chamber, Mr Johnson said: "That was the Irish Minister for Finance last autumn, when he told the Irish parliament that his austerity plan meant they had turned the corner and four months later they slid back into recession."
Mr Osborne unveiled his long-awaited spending review by taking a £7bn (€7.9bn) chunk out of the UK welfare budget.
The chancellor said government departments would face cuts over the next four years.
The UK's draconian measures came as Taoiseach Brian Cowen met Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Labour chief Eamon Gilmore over consensus on a four-year road map.
Axe falls in the UK