Friday 20 January 2017

Burton goes walkabout to dodge Lowry question

Published 26/01/2016 | 02:30

Michael Lowry
Michael Lowry

Tánaiste Joan Burton was asked by the Irish Independent yesterday if she would rule out Independent TD Michael Lowry supporting a government with the Labour Party? Here's her answer. Note the lack of a 'Yes' or 'No'.

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Our focus is on particularly the Labour Party returning to government in significant numbers. And secondly Fine Gael being returned to government so that this government can do its job for another five years and get everybody back to work.

I would be very concerned if there was talk that the next government would be beholden to a series of Independents with different personal agendas and different local agendas.

I do recall that when that arrangement worked on a previous occasion there were long debates in the Dáil over a period of almost five years to even find out what was in the agreements with the individuals who were at the time propping up a particular Fianna Fail government.

So it would certainly concern me deeply if the media were to suggest that we would want a government propped up by Independents. Let me be very clear, both Enda Kenny and myself, want a government of Fine Gael and Labour which is elected sufficient to have a mandate to carry on the recovery. To hand a critical role in our government to Independents with different personal agendas and different local agendas that would be to put the very recovery at risk.

I will certainly in the course of the election be appealing to the electorate to make their decision in favour of the Labour Party, to make their decision in favour of balanced government. We saw for instance at the weekend at the Fine Gael ard fheis Michael Noonan sensibly saying that Fine Gael, following discussion with the Labour Party, have now agreed they will prioritise social investment and social spending into our road network, into public transport, into education, into health and that they will prioritise that while also providing room for phasing out USC on people earning up to €72,000.

So there is a good and very intense discussion going on between the two government parties and I think that that is really what has enabled both parties to relentless drive this pro-jobs agenda.

Irish Independent

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