THE PLOT TO oust Taoiseach Brian Cowen failed last night, but the party is waking up today damaged by the debacle of the confidence vote.
For Tanaiste Mary Coughlan and Deputy Niall Blaney it was a victory, but it may well prove to be a very hollow one.
Today’s feature writers in the Dublin papers are scathing of Mr Cowen’s victory in the confidence vote late last night.
The respected Irish Times journalist Miriam Lord writes: “And still they stagger on: Cowen, the dead duck; Martin the lame duck; Hanafin the gutless duck; and Lenihan, the superior duck who shot himself in the foot.
“The next Cabinet meeting will be like an episode of Casualty. (Minus the lame duck, already making an unexpected and rapid recovery.)”
Micheal Martin has now quit as Minister for Foreign Affairs in the wake of but the Taoiseach’s language afterward was remarkable.
After surviving the secret ballot of 71 Fianna Fail deputies, Mr Cowen accepted the Cork TD’s resignation but said of Mr Martin’s campaign against him: “It sends a very strong confirmation that there are consequences to the decision and the stand that he took.”
Green Party leader John Gormley will meet the Taoiseach today demanding an early timetable for the Finance Bill – and a date for the general election.
Government Chief Whip John Curran refused to reveal the Taoiseach’s margin of victory.
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan denied an eleventh hour u-turn in favour of the Taoiseach and Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin refused to declare support.