Stephen Collins tutorial for the media interviews by politicians

Fine Gael and Labour remained adamant yesterday that the Bill would have to be passed by Friday. One problem is that after its passage through the Dáil, the Finance Bill not only has to go to the Seanad but, because it is a money Bill, has to go back to the Dáil for final approval. That will make the Friday deadline difficult to achieve, but it should be possible to get it through by the middle of next week.

Brian Lenihan suggested that the Bill could be passed by Wednesday of next week and it should not be beyond the ingenuity of the Dáil parties to find a compromise to cover a few days. Finding a reasonable compromise will test the seriousness of all the parties and their commitment to the national interest.

If the Bill is actually passed by next Friday, an election could be held as early as Friday, February 18th. A more realistic date would be February 25th. That would allow for the Finance Bill timetable to go back to Wednesday week, allowing a formal election campaign of more than three weeks.