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No way back for Biffo -- he must go now

BRIAN Cowen's reputation is in tatters. He has been stripped of the moral authority needed to lead this nation. He has lost the confidence of his own political party.

These are extraordinary political times but thoroughly lamentable. We are witnessing the implosion of the biggest and most powerful political party in the State. Much of the damage to this once-proud party is self-inflicted.

These are not normal times. The events of recent days have been fascinating. But this is train wreck politics.

A Government has been sabotaged but it is an inside job. The Taoiseach has made a huge blunder in implementing his resignations plan. The ministers themselves are to blame for meekly going along with Cowen's ill-fated plan. Cowen intended to abuse the institution of Government ministerial office in an attempt to get publicity for vote-seeking candidates.

But this nation can ill-afford such antics. Joblessness is rising daily, thousands are emigrating weekly and many more facing repossession, poverty and ruin as the country teeters on a financial precipice.

There is little being done to lift us up and over these seemingly insurmountable obstacles. This political infighting is nothing less than outrageous, unconscionable, unforgivable.

The leader of our nation has, just two days after a vote of confidence, found himself with his reputation in tatters, stripped of all authority and respect, just when we need real leadership the most.

His ministers have abandoned him, his coalition partners have blocked him and the people don't want him anymore. He should resign immediately.