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Ireland to Push on With Cuts as Tensions Mount, Minister Says

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Ireland will push on with spending cuts and tax increases to narrow the deficit, Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said, condemning votes against the measures by government lawmakers as “political narcissism.”

Chairman of the Labour Party, the junior member in the ruling coalition, Colm Keaveney faces expulsion from the parliamentary party after voting against reducing benefits to carers of disabled children or parents at home.

“There has always been a small sliver of opinion in the Labour Party that is more suited to opposition and advocacy than to government and making hard decisions,” said Rabbitte in an interview with Dublin-based broadcaster RTE, today. “This is not a time for political narcissism.”

Keaveney’s departure from Labour’s parliamentary group will be the fifth since the party formed a coalition government with Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s party last year. The government will still control almost two thirds of the seats in the Irish parliament even after Keaveney’s exit.

“I am not going to get involved in a Punch and Judy show about personality clashes,” Keaveney said in comments aired by RTE today. “We need an early conference to talk about the direction of the Labour Party.”

Calculated Venom

Roisin Shortall, also a former parliamentary member of the Labour Party, resigned from the government in September after a dispute with the country’s health minister. Shortall criticized government leaders earlier this month for social welfare cuts while leaving their own salaries unchanged.

“Some of the interventions I have seen in the last couple of weeks, I haven’t seen that kind of calculated venom before,” Rabbitte said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Finbarr Flynn in Athens at fflynn3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Lytle at dlytle@bloomberg.net

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