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Thursday 14 December 2017

Cowen 'confident' as vote now sideshow to turmoil

ine Kerr Political Correspondent

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen is confident he will survive the motion of no confidence in his leadership -- tabled by troubled Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny.

A bullish Mr Cowen said the motion, which is now being overshadowed by the Fine Gael leadership crisis, will simply present an opportunity for the Government to "put forward its case positively".

And he insisted he will have enough support from Fianna Fail and Green Party TDs to face down the opposition and win the crucial vote, which allows him to remain as Taoiseach.

But he refused to comment on the leadership implosion in Fine Gael or on Mr Kenny tabling the motion at a time when he is going through his own leadership turmoil.

The motion of no confidence was tabled by Fine Gael last week in the aftermath of two banking reports criticising Mr Cowen's tenure as Finance Minister.

An opinion poll later followed putting Fine Gael second behind Labour and showing Mr Kenny's popularity crashing down seven points to 24pc.

"Frankly, I've no comment to make whatsoever on that. These are matters for others to consider," Mr Cowen said.

"We have taken up that confidence motion and we're confident we'll put forward our case very positively."

Backbenchers will troop into the Dail chamber tomorrow night and publicly vote.

The Taoiseach will not be able to rely on the support of independents such as Finian McGrath or Maureen O'Sullivan.

But he can count on other independents such as Michael Lowry, Noel Grealish and Jackie Healy-Rae.

And Fianna Fail TDs who have resigned the party whip, including Jim McDaid, Jimmy Devins and Eamon Scanlon, are all expected to vote with the Government.

The six votes from the Greens will significantly boost the Government's majority.

And despite murmurings from the likes of Fianna Fail TDs Mattie McGrath and Noel O'Flynn following last week's poll, they are both expected to vote in support of the Taoiseach.

Irish Independent

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