Lenihan turns down call for more time
FINANCE Minister Brian Lenihan will not be heeding the advice of a Fianna Fail backbencher to give the banks more time to sort out their capital positions.
Mr Lenihan will be announcing the Government's banking strategy this evening -- an issue he believes needs to be sorted out "once and for all".
But FF TD Ned O'Keeffe feels the minister is following too closely the advice of his officials who, he believes, want to see the banks nationalised.
"I'm saying Brian Lenihan's plan won't work and it could destroy our whole banking system," Mr O'Keeffe said.
Despite his criticism, the Cork East TD said he will continue to vote with the Government as a member of the Fianna Fail party.
But his colleague, Labour's Sean Sherlock, said Mr O'Keeffe was trying to "run with the hare and hunt with the hounds" on Government policy.
"I think it is time that Deputy O'Keeffe, and other notable Fianna Fail backbenchers who come out against the government, put up or shut up," he said.
Mr O'Keeffe holds shares in 35 companies, including AIB, Bank of Ireland and Permanents TSB.
Mr Lenihan will this morning brief the Cabinet on his banking strategy, before announcing the plan in the Dail this evening.
Taoiseach Brian Cowen played a central role in the drafting of the plan.