Northern Ireland

Green Party wants Irish general election next year

John Gormley
Image caption John Gormley at a press conference on Monday where he called for a general election

The Irish government is facing a political crisis after one of the partners in the ruling coalition called for a general election.

The leader of the Green Party, John Gormley, said an election should be held in January 2011.

Mr Gormley, who is minister for the environment, said people felt "misled and betrayed" over the EU bail-out.

He said he had discussed the issue with Taoiseach Brian Cowen, who had expressed disappointment over the party's decision.

At a press conference in Dublin Mr Gormley, indicated the decision was taken ahead of Sunday's announcement that Ireland had applied for a rescue package from the IMF and European Union.

"Since entering Government in June 2007, we in the Green Party have worked to fix and reform the economy," he said.

"It has been difficult. We have taken tough decisions and put the national interest first.

"The party has now reached a point where the Irish people need political certainty to take them beyond the coming two months."

He said that in recent days there was a real problem in terms of communication and the answers the Greens got were not clear enough.

He said the party felt they needed clarity around the issues.

The government on Sunday agreed up to 90bn euros (£77bn; $124bn) of EU-led loans and will publish a four-year budget plan on Wednesday.

It also faces a by-election on Thursday which may cut its three-seat majority.