Tuesday 20 February 2018

Labour moves to calm fear of election

Fionnan Sheahan, Fiach Kelly and Barry Duggan

THE Labour Party has moved to calm general election panic among some of its own TDs, after suggesting the Government would collapse if there is no bank debt deal.

It follows efforts by their own ministers to question the future of the Coalition without a deal.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan said negotiations to strike a deal on the Anglo Irish Bank debt "seem to be going well".

Mr Noonan said he could not understand why people were getting so excited about the promissory notes, when the next repayment wasn't due until March.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore would not be drawn on whether he told German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week that the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition would not survive a failure to seal a deal on the promissory notes by the March 31 deadline.

"The future of the Irish Government is a matter for the Irish Government and the Irish people," he said.


Labour figures say it is necessary to explain to EU leaders the consequences of there not being a debt deal and it was about the "international mood music" of bringing the case to the attention of decision-makers.

But some of their own members were taking the threat seriously.

"The flip side is this is causing concern among our people. We're trying to pull that back now, trying to reassure members," a senior party source said.

"I don't believe there is a huge desire among people at the moment for a general election, but this is a crunch deal. It is a big moment. No one is planning for a general election. No one is even thinking 'what if'."

shane coleman

Irish Independent

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