Irish PM Cowen calls for general election after cabinet reshuffle fails

January 20th, 2011 - 10:53 pm ICT by BNO News  

DUBLIN, IRELAND (BNO NEWS) — Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen on Thursday announced that a General Election will be held in March after his proposed cabinet reshuffle was rejected.

Cowen remarked that his intention is to seek dissolution of the Irish Parliament before March 11, when the General Election is scheduled to take place. The Irish Premier added that in the meantime he will continue pushing key pieces of legislation to aid Ireland’s economic recovery.

In addition, President Mary McAleese accepted the resignations of five Ministers acting Cowen’s advice. Ministers Harney, Dempsey, Ahern, O’Keeffe and Killeen were removed as members of the Government and their posts will be reassigned to existing ministers.

“I want to put on the record of the House my gratitude to each of them for their distinguished contribution to the work of the Government and to the country,” Cowen said.

Mary Harney was the Minister for Health and Children. Previously, she was the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment. Noel Dempsey has been involved in the Irish government in many posts. He last acted as Minister for Transport and pushed legislation that reduced deaths caused by road accidents.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern also quit the government. He proposed the recent ground-breaking anti-gangland legislation. Batt O’Keeffe quit his position as Minister for Education and Science. Cowen said that O’Keeffe is one of his best friends.

The fifth minister removed was Tony Killeen who briefly served as Defense Minister. He was designated for the post in March 2010. He oversaw the successful completion of the UN mission from Chad last summer and announced a new deployment to Lebanon just before Christmas.

On Wednesday, President McAleese accepted the resignation of Micheal Martin, Minister for Foreign Affairs, under the advice of Cowen who assigned the Department of Foreign Affairs to himself for the time being.

The Irish government recently obtained approval for its National Recovery Plan and provided proper funding through the negotiation of an European Union /International Monetary Fund financial package.

Cowen on Tuesday won a confidence vote which was held after a Finance Minister Brian Lenihan accused Cowen of lapses of judgment. The Premier has been blamed for the Irish economic crisis that resulted in a multi-billion bailout from EU/IMF.

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