Belfast Telegraph

Irish PM Brian Cowen vows to carry on

By Barry Duggan and Patricia McDonagh

Taoiseach Brian Cowen last night vowed to continue trying to bring the Republic through “difficult times” despite the hammering his party took in the latest opinion poll.

He was supported by several Cabinet colleagues who claimed there was no way the Government could be popular given the job it had to do in tackling the £17bn-plus deficit in the public finances.

Mr Cowen indicated that he would serve his full term until May 2012, saying that opinion polls were only “snapshots in time”.

“We want to continue with the work that we're doing,” he said.

He was speaking at the opening of the £17m Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick. Mr Cowen admitted that support for his Government had fallen since the economic crisis began.

But he said that the Government had to continue with its plan to implement budget cutbacks.

“Delaying those adjustments or not proceeding the way we are proceeding would put far more at risk,” he said.

Mr Cowen received the backing of his close friend and political colleague Willie O'Dea, whose resignation he accepted earlier this year in the wake of a libel case scandal. Mr O'Dea said that Mr Cowen was the right man to lead Fianna Fail.

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