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Delighted Taoiseach sends video of debate to supporters

TAOISEACH Brian Cowen was so delighted with his combative Dail performance yesterday that he got his staff to email a video of it to party supporters.

After quashing the attempted heave against him, Mr Cowen went on the offensive against the Labour Party for moving a motion of "no confidence" in his Government.

He said that even Fine Gael believed that the Labour motion was "stupid". And when Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny intervened to say his description of it was "ill-timed and ill-judged", Mr Cowen said he could not agree more with him.

A Fianna Fail spokesman confirmed that Mr Cowen had requested that a video of his performance be sent out to party supporters. The email also included a personal statement from Mr Cowen on his plans to "fight for this country".

"I am deeply grateful to my colleagues for their vote of confidence in my continued leadership of Fianna Fail. Both the parliamentary party and I now have a renewed focus and determination to bring our message to the people," he said.

In the Dail yesterday, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said it was still a fact that nine out of 10 people in the country wanted Mr Cowen out of office.


He criticised Mr Cowen's decision to force the Labour Party to hold its motion of no confidence in the Government next week instead of challenging it immediately.

"The Taoiseach is running away from the motion of no confidence and does not want to put it to the test," he said.

But Mr Cowen rejected this and attacked Mr Gilmore for claiming the country was "stuck in the mire" while the people waited for the general election.

"I do not know how the deputy intends to instill confidence when he continues to be one of the foremost spokespersons for the negativity industry in the country," he said.

Mr Cowen was tackled about the admission by Bank of Ireland that it had paid bonuses to some of its staff -- despite previously having told the Government that it had not done so. Mr Kenny said €3.5bn had been paid to the bank with more to come.

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"The point is that the increased taxes, levies and charges being paid by each worker in the country go exclusively to pay these bonuses and this is not right," he said.

Mr Cowen said an investigation was now ongoing into the payment of the bonuses.

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