Ruairi Quinn has confirmed that following a phone call from the Tanaiste Mary Coughlan this evening he will be pairing with her on Wednesday to allow her to travel to the US.
Ruairi Quinn said:The Tanaiste, Mary Coughlan TD, telephoned me this evening and briefed me on her proposed visit to the United States which would result in her absence from the Dail on Wednesday when she was due to answer oral questions on education.
Having heard what the Tanaiste had to say and having spoken during the day to others who were involved in the planning of this trip I am satisfied that this is an important visit with significant job creation potential.
I subsequently discussed the matter with the Labour Party Leader, Eamon Gilmore TD and the Party Whip, Emmet Stagg, and we have agreed on this occasion to facilitate the Tanaiste with a pair for Wednesday and Thursday.
I want to emphasise that this is a one-off arrangement, based only on our belief that with more than 450,000 on the live register, no opportunity should be lost to attract investment from abroad in order to create jobs at home.
The Labour Party remains absolutely committed to earliest possible removal of Fianna Fail from office. This government is incapable of leading this country to economic recovery and the sooner they recognise this and call a general election the better for our people
I also want to reiterate that this controversy could have been avoided had the Tanaiste extended the normal courtesy of contacting the opposition Spokespersons on Education to explain in advance why should would not be present in the Dail to take questions on Wednesday.