Europe

Irish PM, Brian Cowen, survives confidence vote

Brian Cowen
Image caption Prime Minister Brian Cowen survived the confidence vote

The Irish government has survived a motion of no confidence called after two critical reports into its handling of the country's banking crisis.

During a parliamentary debate on Tuesday, the prime minister Brian Cowen said that he stood by his decisions when he served as finance minister.

The government won by 82 votes to 77.

Meanwhile, the leader of the main opposition party is fighting to hold on to his position after losing the support of nine frontbench colleagues.

Enda Kenny has called a for a vote on his leadership at a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party on Thursday.

The rebellion began after Mr Kenny sacked deputy leader Richard Bruton, considered to be a leadership rival.

Poll

The move against Mr Kenny also followed poor opinion results which showed the party lagging behind fellow opposition party, Labour.

With Fianna Fail currently enduring some of its worst ever poll ratings, there is pressure on Mr Kenny to improve his party's own position.

A spokesperson for the frontbench rebels, Denis Naughten, accused Mr Kenny of "shutting down" a meeting on Tuesday morning.

He said the move had disappointed the group of MPs who had wanted to discuss the future of the party and his leadership with him.

Mr Naughten said the majority of the frontbench was not supportive of Mr Kenny's leadership and said that it was his belief that situation is replicated within the wider parliamentary party.

However, party health spokesperson Dr James Reilly said he believed Mr Kenny would have the support of the majority of the 70-strong parliamentary group.

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