Cowen accepts six resignations
Published 20/01/2011 | 10:12
The Taoiseach is due to make a statement in the Dail after Government chief whip John Curran confirmed Brian Cowen has accepted six resignations from his Cabinet.
Mr Curran said the vacant ministerial positions will be reassigned.
One departing minister, Noel Dempsey, claimed the Taoiseach had planned the series of dramatic resignations en masse.
The Government has been hit by resignations from Mary Harney from health, Dermot Ahern from justice, Mr Dempsey from transport and Tony Killeen from defence in the last 24 hours, following Micheal Martin's departure from foreign affairs after a failed leadership challenge.
A sixth minister, Batt O'Keeffe, Minster for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, is understood to have tendered his resignation on Thursday morning.
The Dail was suspended twice during rowdy scenes after the Opposition demanded the Taoiseach come into the House and clarify who is in charge of the six departments.
Enda Kenny, leader of the main Opposition party Fine Gael, demanded the proceedings be suspended until the Taoiseach explains what is happening in Government.
"This is the worst government in history," Mr Kenny said. "This would not have happened even in the days of great dictators. It is unprecedented, what you have done."
Mr Kenny accused the Taoiseach of a "cowardly, disgraceful act" and that he was "refusing to come in here today to tell the people of his country what is happening with a Government that has imploded, with a Government that is dysfunctional, that has disintegrated, and that had let our people down".
Labour leader Eamon Gilmore claimed the affair was unprecedented and eccentric. "What is happening here this morning is disrespectful of the people of this country," Mr Gilmore said.