Here are the facts
1/ Labour and Fine Gael are against parts of the proposed Finance Bill.
2/ Fianna Fail and the Greens ( who now sit on the opposition benches and are no longer part of government will support the Finance Bill, and it will be passed to comply with IMF/EU bailout conditions.)
3/ Labour and Fine Gael decided to push for the speedy reading of the bill and an early election as a result. The Fianna Fail party is now in a minority government and there is a small chance that the bill might have been defeated if the situation had remained with FG and Labour opposing it.Again there was no guarantee either way. Because of this some more technical parts of the bill were left out notably the part relating to Civil Partnership. The Civil Partnership provisions stretch over a vast area of legislation and need to be carefully scrutinised and will be brought in as soon as possible by a new government. There is no point at this stage in allowing Fianna Fail to filibuster over divisive issues in order to prolong the life of this Dail.
Edit 16.34 25/01/11
Labour LGBT press release
Issued : Tuesday 25 January, 2011
Labour LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) has welcomed that post election a Finance No. 2 Bill would be introduced to Dáil Éireann that will include provisions relating to the tax status of civil partners under the Civil Partnership Act 2010.
“Cross party support has been agreed for this proposal and it will be taken early in the lifetime of the new Dáil. Labour will ensure that the Civil Partnership Act is fully recognized and implemented.
“Labour as a party remains fully committed to marriage for lesbian and gay couples.”
4/ Fianna Fail wanted a much longer time frame for the bills passage even though they guillotined the Banking Bill in the days before Christmas and it seemed to suit them at that point, but not this time, so why? Fianna Fail are in electoral meltdown and needed time to organise and regain momentum and that is the reason for Lenihan trying to stall the ball up to yesterday. Lenihan working for party before country?
5/ The government with the Greens are voting in favour of the FB so this will mean that the bill will go through unhindered and any amendments by Labour and Fine Gael will be ignored, and voted down. Given the situation Labour and Fine Gael decided to accept the inevitability of that and get the FB out of the way, thus denying Fianna Fail time to regroup. That is the strategy behind the agreement yesterday to run the FB until Thursday in the Dail and then in the Seanad on Friday and Saturday allowing for an election on 25th February.
Quote from the Irish Times today Tuesday 25th.
Opposition sources were quick to point out yesterday that there has not been a successful opposition amendment to a Finance Bill in a decade.
Meanwhile some levity. Enda has gone missing again. Thanks to Jim Sheridan
And finally thanks to tigerreborn