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We won't let FF buy time with Finance Bill -- Reilly

FINE Gael was last night insisting it would not allow Fianna Fail to "buy time" for its leadership contest by delaying the passage of the Finance Bill.

Despite claims by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan that it was not realistic to pass it by Friday, the party insisted it could easily be done.

Deputy leader Dr James Reilly said that the other legislation had been passed speedily in the past.

The Finance Bill will implement the remaining measures of the Budget, such as the tax on online betting, as well as the proposed 90pc tax on future bank bonuses.

The Government is arguing that it is needed to meet the commitments in the €85bn bailout package agreed with the EU and the International Monetary Fund last November.

Mr Reilly confirmed the Green Party had been in contact with Fine Gael prior to their announcement that they were leaving Government -- and had been told that Fine Gael would co-operate in passing the Finance Bill as long as it was done by Friday. That includes Fine Gael dropping its planned motion of no-confidence in Taoiseach Brian Cowen

Mr Reilly also referred to articles by 'New York Times' columnist and Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, who has warned Ireland will likely be forced to default on its bailout loans and will take decades to recover.

Irish Independent