Opposition Irish MP to abstain on budget vote-report

DUBLIN, Dec 5 (BestGrowthStock) – An opposition Irish MP has offered
to throw the government a lifeline by abstaining from the first
of three budget votes on Tuesday if government supporters oppose
the proposals, a newspaper quoted her as saying on Sunday.

Prime Minister Brian Cowen, whose popularity has plunged
into the single digits, has a razor-thin majority in parliament
that depends on two independent lawmakers who have not yet
stated how they plan to vote. [ID:nLDE6B207H]

If those two withhold their support, however, he will need
members of the main opposition party Fine Gael to abstain to
keep the budget — a prerequisite for ensuring quick access to
EU/IMF rescue funds — on track for passage.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has repeatedly said he thinks
the government will pass the budget on its own, avoiding the
issue of his party abstaining, but his party colleague Lucinda
Creighton said she would abstain if necessary.

“I would prefer if Fine Gael had an input into this budget,
but I don’t believe it would be good for the country for this
budget to fail,” Creighton told the Sunday Business Post.

Creighton could not immediately be reached to confirm her
intention to abstain.

The main details of the budget are already known. It
foresees 6 billion euros in savings next year, including roughly
4 billion euros in spending cuts and tax adjustments designed to
boost revenues by some 2 billion euros.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan also wants to cut government
ministers’ salaries for a second successive year and cap the pay
of semi-state company bosses, newspapers reported on Sunday.

Lenihan cut ministerial salaries by 15 percent this time
last year and the reports put a fresh cut at between 10 and 15
percent. The Sunday Business Post said the move was receiving
resistance from some around the cabinet table.

The reported planned capping of public sector pay at between
200,000 and 250,000 euros may only apply to future salaries due
to contractual obligations, some of the newspapers also noted.

The Sunday Times said rebel Fianna Fail backbench MP Mattie
McGrath would only vote for the budget if some of his key
proposals, including the public sector salary cap, were included
in Tuesday’s announcement.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin)

Opposition Irish MP to abstain on budget vote-report