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Cowen says he's leading a united government

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has said that he is leading a united government and is determined to lead the country out of the present economic crisis, RTE reports.

Brian Cowen was answering a question about reports that members of his party are unhappy with his leadership.

Cowen added that members of his party had already discussed the difficulties and that it was now a priority for the government to get on with the work.

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Earlier, two government ministers responded to disquiet expressed by some Fianna Fáil backbenchers over the loss of support for the party and its leader recorded in opinion polls.

Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern said that everyone in Fianna Fáil needed to improve their performance and rejected suggestions of rumblings within Fianna Fáil against Mr Cowen's leadership.

Ahern said that nobody within the party was happy that the Fianna Fáil ratings stood at 24%.

However, he said that the government was involved in taking difficult decisions and that the taoiseach was giving great leadership.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Batt O'Keeffe said it was not a time for in-fighting but a time for the party to pull together for the sake of the country.

The two were speaking ahead of the weekly meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party tomorrow night.

Fianna Fáil South Kildare TD Sean Power has said that he would support a challenge against Cowen's leadership if it was for the benefit of the country, but that he did not foresee a challenge happening in the near future.

Speaking to KFM, Sean Power said that if Cowen intends to continue leading Fianna Fáil and the country, he will have to change his direction and strategy.