Cowen defiant in face of calls to quit
TAOISEACH Brian Cowen last night defied calls to quit his job -- and instead put the onus on the opposition parties to back his Budget.
Instead of seeking an immediate general election, Mr Cowen made it clear he would stay on in power and seek to pass the Budget on December 7 with cross-party support.
Mr Cowen, who was flanked by all the Fianna Fail ministers at Government Buildings, linked the survival of his Government to the ongoing discussions with the IMF and the EU about the financial bailout for the State.
He also said his colleagues had provided their full support.
Mr Cowen did promise to then call a general election in January. He denied that he was acting in his own interest -- and he also denied that he had felt "betrayed" by the Green Party's decision to call for such an election next month.
"That is not a word that is in my lexicon. I have spoken to John Gormley and he indicated very clearly that they will support the important work of this Government that will be undertaken in the coming weeks and months," he said.
Mr Cowen's Government could have its majority of three cut to two if it loses the Donegal South West by-election on Thursday. And it will be unable to pass the Budget without additional cross-party support if independent TDs Jackie Healy-Rae and Michael Lowry carry out their threat not to vote for the Government.
Mr Cowen said the "biggest statement of confidence" that could be given by the country would be to pass the Budget, which will contain €6bn of spending cuts and taxation increases.