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Junior minister labels turmoil 'car crash' politics

Fianna Fail junior minister Conor Lenihan has compared the last few days of unprecedented political turmoil with a car crash.

He claimed the Taoiseach was aware last Saturday - as he consulted with Fianna Fail TDs over whether to remain party leader - that the Greens did not want new Cabinet ministers parachuted into empty portfolios.

Mr Lenihan said: "I think everybody was shell-shocked, not just me.

"All of my colleagues were wandering around the House in a state of shock.

"It's no exaggeration to say that it was akin to, and the atmosphere was akin to, somebody who had been through a car crash - the trauma that people experience after an incident of that kind."

Mr Lenihan told RTE Radio that backbenchers were offered Cabinet jobs for supporting the Taoiseach in the failed leadership challenge.

He said the Greens were not to blame for the shambolic reshuffle attempt.

The junior minister repeated his call for the Taoiseach to stand down.

"We do need to take responsibility and accountability for unfortunate situations that we create ourselves and that's why I'm asking Brian Cowen to resign," he said.

Mr Lenihan added: "We have a responsibility as a country, but also, separately and less importantly than that, a reputation as a party for competent government and you can't engage in that in a reckless manner by wilfully ignoring the wishes and indications of our coalition partners.

"It's not the way to run a business, it's not the way to run an organisation and it's not the way to run a country."

Mr Lenihan said credibility in Mr Cowen had evaporated.

"I have concerns for the country. The instability that's been introduced in the last 24 hours and purely from a party political level... we are a party facing implosion," he said.

"We are a party that could quite easily disappear from the landscape in the context of the next General Election."

PA Media