The government under threat? If only. February 5, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
Reading between the lines of the media at the weekend one would think that the Coalition was under enormous, perhaps terminal, internal and external pressure. The SBP suggests that Labour is on the brink of rejection of the abortion plans brought to Cabinet because they’re ‘too restrictive’. Their particular problem is with the panel of doctors who will be charged with assessing cases. There is certainly a point there that this seems, on the face of it – and putting aside the broader issue of just how wrong headed an approach this is in for many of us – to be problematic in the extreme.
Fine Gael, as articulated by James Reilly, want up to five doctors.
The LP proposal is hardly any better, wanting ‘only’ three, two psychiatrists and a GP.
And then there’s other pressure from outside. Gilmore apparently ‘warned’ Merkel that without a deal on the bank debt the ‘coalition could fall’. Pat Leahy suggests that:
Gilmore told Merkel, European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, European Council chief Herman van Rompuy, French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and Finnish prime minister Jyrki Katainen that failure to secure a deal on the promissory notes would have the “most profound consequences” for the two-year old coalition.
Some of us might be forgiven for taking that with a pinch of salt. Precisely what mechanism would initiate any such fall? Both Fine Gael and Labour retain jointly a commanding majority, a super-majority. There is little or no incentive for them to leave government, even in the wake of a rebuff from Europe on the debt. Indeed for them to do so would be unprecedented – not least because they’ve toughed it out so far – and in contradiction to their respective election platforms – with nary a whisper of resignation on their lips.
If they go it will be, almost certainly, under their own steam. Granted we’re told that:
Tensions have also been growing between Fine Gael and Labour on the issue, with Labour ministers much more concerned than Fine Gael about the consequences of not securing a deal.
But if so – and again, this is putting aside the issue as to the real significance of any deal over promissory notes – it seems unlikely on past experience that such tensions will lead to any substantive breach.
Which makes all this seem a little cosmetic. And if it seems cosmetic from this side of the Irish Sea, then one presumes that it seems doubly so to Merkel et al.
Speaking in Limerick today Mr Noonan said payment is not due until March 31st which is almost two months away adding “I don’t understand why people are getting so excited at present”.
“I don’t put the two issues together at all I don’t see any threat to the coalition government,” he said.