The past week has been a traumatic one for the Irish electorate. People feel misled and betrayed.
The Green Party believes three things must be done in the coming two months to safeguard the future prosperity and independence of the Irish people.
- Producing a credible four-year plan to show we can make our Budgets balance by 2014.
- Delivering a Budget for 2011.
- Securing funding support from the EU and IMF which will respect vital Irish interests and restore stability to the Euro area.
We have always said that our involvement in government would only continue as long as it was for the benefit of the Irish people.
Leaving the country without a government while these matters are unresolved would be very damaging and would breach our duty of care.
But we have now reached a point where the Irish people need political certainty to take them beyond the coming two months.
So, we believe it is time to fix a date for a general election in the second half of January 2011. We made our decision last Saturday after a long series of meetings.
Since entering government in June 2007, we in the Green Party have worked to fix and reform the economy. It has been difficult. We have taken tough decisions and put the national interest first.
We cannot go back and reverse the property bubble and the reckless banking which we consistently spoke opposed. Nor can we control the market turmoil which has afflicted the Euro area.
We have taken extensive measures to recognise the losses and stabilise our banking system.
However, it is now clear we need further measures to give market confidence about our banks and public finances. We are now discussing ways of restoring stability to the banking system with the support of our European colleagues and the IMF.
We have to ensure that the terms of any such support are in the interests of the Irish people and the wider Euro area.
The timeframe for achieving a four-year plan, Budget 2011 and a good outcome from IMF/EU talks is very short.
These matters must at this stage take priority ahead of everything else.
Despite our difficulties and disappointments, I believe we can get out of this situation. We must all work together to ensure the best outcome for everyone.