Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach: I am not on probation

Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen insists he is not "on probation" as speculation over his leadership reached fever pitch.

In an unexpected press briefing in front of Government Buildings, Mr Cowen declared his Fianna Fail party was united behind him.

"I'm speaking to the Irish people as Taoiseach," he said.

"I want to make sure that everyone understands that they have a Government that has a working stable majority, that will do its work as it has been doing it before."

Mr Cowen was joined by his Finance Minister Brian Lenihan who earlier said he was not aware of any planned revolt against the Taoiseach.

But despite a slew of senior Fianna Fail figures lining up to back Mr Cowen's leadership, the fall-out of his now notorious radio interview from the party's think-in in Galway last week shows no sign of abating.

Urging a special meeting of the parliamentary party, former Fianna Fail Government chief whip Tom Kitt said something needed to be done about the controversy in the days ahead.

"The Galway incident in my view was a once-off thing, the Taoiseach has apologised for that, but there is this broader issue of connectivity with the public," he said.

"I would have the view that the time has come to move on to new leadership."

Mr Kitt, who was sacked as chief whip by Mr Cowen two years ago, said the Irish people want a leader who can create a climate of positivity.


From Belfast Telegraph