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Ministers believe they can survive Labour vote

THE Government remains confident that it can win the vote of no confidence next week, despite the turmoil caused by Taoiseach Brian Cowen's botched reshuffle.

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore yesterday decided to press ahead with the Dail vote as he said the country couldn't wait for even a day longer than necessary to be rid of the Fianna Fail-led Government.

Fine Gael indicated that it would also vote with Labour, despite having called the motion "ill-timed and ill-judged" just a week ago.

Pointing to the alleged futility of the motion, the Green Party said: "A general election is weeks away. But we'll consider the Labour motion when TDs and senators meet on Tuesday."

The Government believes that the vote will be won.

Coalition sources said the Government was committed to passing the Finance Bill and holding the general election on March 11, so it wouldn't be wise for its own rebel TDs to vote against it.

Mr Gilmore welcomed the announcement that the general election would be held on March 11.

However, he continued, the country had seen "the degree of disintegration" that was currently taking place within the Government.

Speaking in Galway, Mr Gilmore said that neither Labour nor the people of the country had any confidence in the Government.


"And with each passing day, it seems to be that the TDs within Fianna Fail and the Greens have no confidence in it either. For it to continue a day longer than is necessary is bad for the country -- we want to bring it to a head," he said.

Fine Gael sources said Enda Kenny and his frontbench team would discuss the issue next week -- but that the party would be voting against the Government.

Its justice spokesman Alan Shatter said: "I think this Government could disintegrate over the weekend, I think it at this stage it has practically disintegrated.

"Quite clearly, if there is a motion of no confidence in the Government, we will vote no confidence in the Government but my concern remains as it has been in the past that the Fianna Fail party and the Green Party will simply join together and that motion will just be a gesture. "What we really need is to have a general election at the earliest-possible opportunity." Fine Gael TD Olivia Mitchell said the party would "of course" vote no confidence in the Government.

Irish Independent