The Irish General Election may be pushed back until March of next year or even later following a row between Fianna Fáil and Green Party Ministers.
The row erupted on the morning of the Budget when two Green Ministers insisted their priority legislation on issues such as climate change, corporate donations and waste levies were enacted before the upcoming elections.
Sources from both parties said that Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey was forceful in telling the Greens that if they wanted their legislation passed by the Parliament, they could forget about an early New Year election.
“There was a row, they wanted their own Green legislation pushed through,” a Fianna Fáil source told the Irish Times.
“Basically they were told they should have thought of that before they called time on the Government.”
A Green Party spokesperson has indicated that the party could withdraw its original demand for a General Election on the second half of January.
“It’s certainly worth looking at if it means getting key legislation through, but this can’t go on for ever and progress can be made pretty quickly,” the spokesman said.
Another Government source confirmed that Fianna Fáil wanted “as long a lead-in time to a general election as possible” in an expected attempt to garner support for the unpopular party.
When the Irish Parliament resumes on January 11th, the Greens will hope to push through legislation on the Climate Change Bill, the Electoral Amendment Bill which aims to ban corporate donations and legislation on animal welfare and waste levies.