Taoiseach confidence motion - As it happened

Wednesday 16 June 2010 18.01
1 of 3
Brian Cowen - 'No one predicted scale of collapse'
Brian Cowen - 'No one predicted scale of collapse'
Enda Kenny - Taoisech has brought the economy 'to its knees'
Enda Kenny - Taoisech has brought the economy 'to its knees'
Eamon Gilmore - Has lost faith in Government
Eamon Gilmore - Has lost faith in Government

08.49pm: The Government has won the motion of confidence in Taoiseach Brian Cowen. The vote was 82-77 in Mr Cowen's favour.

8.30pm: The debate has ended and the House will now vote on the motion of confidence in Brian Cowen.

8.23pm: Mr Lenihan says we have listened to the 'simple soundbite' all day. He says Mr Cowen is concerned by the effect of the economic crisis on families, but he will be shown to have shown great leadership.

8.19pm: Mr Lenihan says the economic measures taken are working. He says Opposition parties have shown no appetite for fiscal restraint.

8.18pm: Finance Minister Brian Lenihan is addressing the House.

8.14pm: Damien English, Fine Gael, says the Government used to tax taken from the property sector to buy elections.

8.10pm: Paul Gogarty, Green Party, says the alternative to the current Government is 'not worth two hoots'.

8.07pm: Ciarán Cuffe, Minister of State for Horticulture, Sustainable Travel and Planning and Heritage, says the Government is offering a better planning system.

8.04pm: Martin Mansergh, Minister of State at the Department of Finance, says it is 'not time to change the captain'.

7.57pm: Maureen O'Sullivan, Independent, says she can not have any belief in a Taoiseach who has allowed those responsible for the banking crisis to go unpunished.

7.55pm: Finian McGrath, Independent, says he will be voting against the Government.

7:47pm: Micheál Martin, Minister for Foreign Affairs, says he does not believe most Deputies have actually read the two reports into the banking crisis.

7:39pm: Dermot Ahern, Minister for Justice, says the Opposition have been trying to be all things to all people in recent years. He also wonders whether Labour leader Eamon Gilmore will change his mind about going into coalition with Fianna Fáil in the light of Fine Gael's internal wrangling.

7:35pm: Fine Gael's Dan Neville asks the Government to recognise that there is a great need for suicide prevention services.

7:31pm: Fine Gael's PJ Sheehan says for the sake of the country, it is time for the Government to fall on their swords.

7:22pm: Fianna Fáil's Niall Blaney says history will not be kind to the Labour Party and believes their time at the top of opinion polls will be brief.

7:19pm: Fianna Fáil's John Moloney says the Taoiseach has refused to go for the 'soft option'. He also says allegations that Mr Cowen has committed economic treason do not stand up to scrutiny.

7:07pm: Fine Gael's Deirdre Clune says the Government's argument that international factors caused the recession is a failed one

7:03pm: Seán Haughey, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning and School Transport, says Opposition policies would have exacerbated the property bubble.

7:01pm: Dick Roche, Minister of State for European Affairs, says it is incredible to him that 'Punch & Judy' politics continue in the wake of the 'clarity' of the two reports on the banking crisis.

6:54pm: Ms Burton says Brian Cowen's attitude to bankers was 'cowardly' and 'reckless'.

6.44pm: Joan Burton, Labour's Finance Spokesperson, says Mr Cowen is as much a culprit as a casualty of the economic crisis.

6:39pm: Minister Dara Calleary says the policies pursued by the Government in the past two years have 'given us stability', which can be used to grow the country.

6:35pm: Minister Tony Killeen says the failure of Anglo would have had serious ramifications for the Irish banking system and the economy.

6:31pm: Fine Gael's James Bannon says his constituency is full of people whose lives have been ruined by the Government, adding that Mr Cowen would be facing retribution for his actions in any other country.

6:28pm: Deputy Seymour Crawford said last week's bank reports state clearly that the problems were Government related. He added that the Taoiseach had left a legacy that the next generation would never forget.

6:25pm: Fine Gael's Billy Timmins says the country had been badly let down by the Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil and that it was time for them to leave.

6:19pm: Government Chief Whip Pat Carey says Brian Cowen has led the country in a time of great financial upheaval and that he stood his ground.

6:14pm: Minister for Social Protection Éamon Ó Cuív says he is happy to speak in favour of the confidence vote, adding that Mr Cowen has told him to focus on job activation and the need to create a better future for unemployed people.

6:10pm Deputy Michael Ring of Fine Gael said the country was in a terrible state and what was needed now was a new Government. He said the bankers and the builders should be in jail.

6:08pm: Olivia Mitchell, Fine Gael TD, says Mr Cowen has used up all of his credit with the public and that he should resign.

5.54pm: Noel Dempsey, Minister for Transport, says the Government has shown it can disregard popularity in order to make the right decisions.

5:46pm: Pat Rabbitte, Labour's Spokesperson for Justice, says the Government has 'deprived the people of hope'.

5:45pm: Mr Howlin says the Government has created a 'monster' in the HSE. He says the Government's mandate is not frozen in time.

5:41pm: Labour's Brendan Howlin says his party have published an array of policy proposals this year.

5:40pm: Mr O'Keeffe says today's debate offers Labour the chance to 'put up or shut up', as he says they have offered no alternative proposals to date.

5:36pm: Batt O'Keeffe, Minister for Education, says that while the Government's economic decisions have been unpopular, they have put the country on the road to economic recovery.

5:33pm: Ms Hanafin says the fruits of the Government's expenditure on education can be seen across the country.

5:31pm: Mary Hanafin, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, says there is a huge amount of 'revisionist rhetoric' going on in relation to public spending.

5:28pm: Charlie Flanagan, Fine Gael Spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Law Reform, says the greatest indictment of the Government's stewardship of the country is the reduction in quality of life for the citizens.

5:26pm: Mr Varadkar says Mr Cowen is only person responsible for the economic crisis who has not yet stood aside.

5:24pm: Mr Varadkar says that the Government had no ideology during the years of the boom, and 'bought the people's votes with the people's money'.

5:23pm: Leo Varadkar, Fine Gael Spokesperson for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, says the Goverment should not think that his party's current problems have weakened their desire to remove the current coalition.

5:21pm: Mary Harney finishes by saying that we should not be afraid to highlight the positives in our economy.

5:20pm: Ms Harney says Mr Cowen's decisions as Finance Minister were made on the basis of 'consensus advice'.

5:18pm: Minister Harney says the Taoiseach is in no way corrupt, and says she has found him to be 'straight, honest and hard-working.'

5:17pm: Ms Coughlan concludes her speech by saying she believes in Brian Cowen's leadership skills. She is sharing time with Health Minister Mary Harney.

5:12pm: Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills Mary Coughlan says that the Government is able to handle the heat created by the economic crisis. She also criticised the Opposition's no confidence motion, claiming it is 'unnecessary'.

5:08pm: Mr Deenihan says that Fianna Fáil would also have tabled a motion of no confidence if they were in Opposition.

5:07pm: Jimmy Deenihan, Fine Gael's Defence Spokesperson, begins addressing a Dáil that has emptied out considerably.

5:03pm: Fine Gael's Kieran O'Donnell criticises the speeches of both Green Party deputies, saying they had neglected to mention jobs.

Deputy O'Donnell said 450,000 people on the Live Register were looking into the House for leadership.

5:00pm: Minister White concludes by saying the Government will steer the State to safety.

4:58pm: Mary White says that every party goes into Government to have their policies implemented and the Green Party are succeeding in this.

4:57pm: Mr Gormley ends his brief speech by complaining that he has been 'constantly interrupted'.

4:56pm: Mr Gormley says having Labour in power would lead to similar situations seen in Greece and Spain, which both have socialist governments.

4:51pm: Green Party leader John Gormley begins his speech. He is sharing his time with the Minister of State for Equality, Integration and Human Rights, Mary White.

4:50pm: Mr Ó Caoláin ends by saying Sinn Féin have a vision for a re-built Irish economy, the first step of which requires the removal of the Government.

4:44pm: Mr Ó Caoláin says Sinn Féin would make sure the criminal aspects of what happened were prosecuted. We would start taking care of ordinary citizens ruined by the banking crisis and being forced to pay for it when it was not of their making.

4:39pm: Mr Ó Caoláin says the HSE was established 'to underpin a grossly inequitable two-tier health system'.

4:38pm: Mr Ó Caoláin says the 'tragedy is that this situation need never have developed if the right policies had been pursued. But nothing has really changed and nothing will change under this Government.'

4:36pm: Mr Ó Caoláin says those responsible for the property crash and the banking crisis have not been made to pay the price. He says the handful who have been removed from their positions have had a ‘soft landing’.

4:26pm: Mr Ó Caoláin says his party's proposals to put social need before speculators’ greed was met with 'contempt' by the Government

4:20pm: Sinn Féin's leader in the Dáil Caoimghín Ó Caoláin is next to speak. He says there is not a shred of credibility in their effort to shirk responsibility for what has happened to the Irish economy. He also says he has no faith in either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael

4:19pm: Mr Quinn finishes his speech, but not before accusing the Government of 'political cowardice' for not going to the people.

4:17pm: Mr Quinn says the €50m wasted on e-voting machines could have transformed other areas of society. He says even Robert Mugabe would not have bought them.

4:15pm: Mr Quinn says the Government is responsible for a generation of wasted spending. He cites the granting of Section 23 planning for the North Shannon basin as an example of this wastage. He says areas of Co Leitrim are a wasteland of buildings that will never become homes.

4:12pm: Mr Quinn says there are 100,000 childrens being taught in pre-fabs.

4:10pm: Ruairi Quinn, Labour Spokesperson on Education and Science and a former Minister for Finance, is sharing some of Mr Gilmore's time. He begins his speech by saying this is the second time in his political career that Fianna Fáil has brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy.

4:09pm: Mr Gilmore finished his speech by echoing Enda Kenny's call for a General Election.

4:07pm: Mr Gilmore says the Government has no mandate to sell off the VHI. He says healthcare is different from other services and that the State was shamed when it could not even count the number of children who have died in its care.

4:03pm: Mr Gilmore says in order to stop 'lurching from one disaster to the next', it is imperative that real political reform is implemented.

He says we need a national parliament that meets at least four days a week, cuts out the long recesses and deals with relevant issues in a relevant way.

4pm: Mr Gilmore says we need a Government that gets the idea that jobs and growth will not come from a hands-off, light-touch approach.

3:57pm: The Labour leader says the country cannot have a fresh start while this Government clings to power.

3:56pm: Mr Gilmore says that if the people had a chance to vote they would vote by an overwhelming majority to get this Government out.

3:54pm: Mr Gilmore says Labour 'will not vote confidence in Brian Cowen, because, like the people of this country, we have long ago lost faith in him, and in his ministers.'

3:51pm: Labour leader Eamon Gilmore begins by asking Brian Cowen 'have you no shame?' Mr Gilmore accuses the Taoiseach of delivering a self-centred and shameless speech to the House.

3:50pm: Mr Kenny concludes by calling on Mr Cowen to 'go the people.'

3:48pm: Mr Kenny asks of Mr Cowen: 'As the man who has consistently denied any major responsibility for our economic crisis, how can you claim that you have any moral authority to sit in that seat?'

3:47pm: Mr Kenny says Mr Cowen has 'turned poor, unaccountable Government into an art form'.

3:45pm: The Fine Gael leader accuses the Taoiseach of dividing Ireland 'between the insiders, who manipulate the system for their own benefit, and the vast majority of our citizens that are left powerless on the outside.'

3:44pm: Mr Kenny says the €25bn cheque written to guarantee Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Building Society illustrates the ‘toxic triangle’ that existed between Fianna Fáil, the developers and the bankers.

3:39pm: Mr Kenny says Mr Cowen's legacy is an 'economy brought to its knees' and a 'society torn apart'.

3:37pm: Enda Kenny accuses the Taoiseach of ignoring proposals put forward by Fine Gael which would have 'halted the destruction'.

3:35pm: Mr Kenny says both the IMF and the ESRI warned the Taoiseach about the dangers of the property bubble, but Mr Cowen refused to listen.

3:34pm: Mr Kenny said that over Mr Cowen's four Budgets as Finance Minister, from 2005 to 2008, spending increased by a massive 51% - more than twice the rate of growth in the economy.

3:30pm: Mr Kenny said Brian Cowen was guilty of creating an economic disaster and said that if he had any respect he would have resigned by now.

The Fine Gael leader accused the Taoiseach of hi-jacking the Republic and handing it over to the speculators.

Deputy Kenny said Brian Cowen was the chief architect of economic destruction which has led to a lost decade of misery and that Mr Cowen was a true disciple of Bertie Ahern.

The Fine Gael leader also pointed to the report by the Central Bank Governor who said the crisis was home grown.

Deputy Richard Bruton is still in the Dáil Chamber.

3:24pm: Enda Kenny starts delivering his speech. Richard Bruton, who was sacked as Fine Gael Deputy Leader yesterday, is sitting in the second row of the Opposition benches beside Olivia Mitchell.

3:23pm: The Taoiseach finishes his speech. It is met with applause from his backbenchers.

3:22pm: Mr Cowen said he regrets and is sorry for the outcomes in relation to what has happened to the economy but said that no one predicted the scale of collapse.

He said there is a re-writing of history going on and that the demands for more spending from the opposition are there for all to see.

He said he did use his budgets to cool the economy but that in some cases, that was not sufficient. He said there were fundamental errors from forecasting bodies.

Brian Cowen said the task of achieving full economic recovery is far from complete, but that the direction is clear and the way set.

He said the Government does accept failure and its share of responsibility for the crisis.

3:21pm: Mr Cowen says the Government’s plan to restore order to the public finances means that people can have confidence that Ireland is back on track.

3:20pm: Mr Cowen says the independent report by the Governor of the Central Bank, Patrick Honohan, also vindicates the Government decision to introduce an extensive banking guarantee.

3:17pm: Mr Cowen says the Government now knows grave mistakes were made in the judgement of the capital adequacy of the Irish banks and the assessment of future loan losses and on the outlook for the property sector.

He adds, however, that it is important to note that no one in the independent authorities ever advised the Government that the capital requirements were not sufficient or that higher capital adequacy ratios should be imposed.

3:15pm: The Taoiseach says there is a mistaken view that a widespread guarantee of the Irish banking sector was not the correct decision.

3:07pm: Mr Cowen says lessons had been learnt from the banking crisis and a radical regulatory system has been introduced.

3.00pm: The debate on the motion of confidence in the Taoiseach and the Government begins in the Dáil.

Brian Cowen says that the tough decisions his Government has taken are now paying off and that the country has reached a turning point in its economic recovery.

The Taoiseach says that this period in politics is the most volatile in 25 years.

He also repeats that he takes full responsibility for decisions he took as Minister for Finance and as Taoiseach.

The senior members of the Cabinet all are in the Chamber for the debate.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny is being flanked by the party’s Health Spokesperson, James Reilly.

2.50pm: The debate on the motion of confidence in the Taoiseach and the Government begins in the Dáil.

2.37pm: The party whips are discussing the Order of Business.

2pm: A motion of confidence in Taoiseach Brian Cowen is to be debated in the Dáil after a no-confidence motion was tabled by Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny.

Fine Gael tabled its motion following criticism of the Government in the reports on the banking crisis last week.

After what is expected to be a brief Order of Business at 2.30pm, there will be four 30-minute speaking slots, for the Government, Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn Féin.

The rest of the time will be divided into ten-minute speaking slots, alternating between Government and Opposition, before the final speaker for the Government finishes the debate with a 15-minute speech.

The vote will be called at 8.30pm.

A recent poll found that only 21% of voters want Mr Cowen to remain as Taoiseach, while his satisfaction rating dropped 8% to 18%.