Sunday 25 September 2016

Joan Burton: I've no intention of 'doing a bit of Downton Abbey and the teacups'

Tanaiste dismisses suggestions that use of her hands is a distraction

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Published 17/02/2016 | 13:42

Joan Burton
Joan Burton

Tanaiste Joan Burton has claimed female politicians come under greater scrutiny than their male counterparts over their public performances.

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The Labour Party leader today said she has no intention of “standing back” and “doing a bit of Downton Abbey and the teacups” when asked if her performances are damaging the electoral prospects of Labour candidates.

And she laughed off suggestions that the “overuse” of her hands is proving to be a distraction during live television debates.

“Lots of male colleagues have peculiarities, mannerisms, that not everybody cares for,” Ms Burton said, adding that female politicians come under greater scrutiny than men.

“If they feel there is something inappropriate in a woman not standing back and sitting down and you know, doing a bit of Downton abbey and the tea cups. I feel very, very passionate about this country, and the potential of its future, about the young people.  So I apologise if I didn’t meet the standard of everyone but I’m very confident as well that our labour TDs and candidates are going to surprise on the day and do very well."

Meanwhile, Ms Burton admitted the Government may not be able to deliver on some of its election promises in the event of an economic down turn.

The Dublin West TD said that certain pledges will have to be implemented over a longer period if conditions worsen.

While expressing confidence in the country’s growth forecasts, Ms Burton warned of “storm clouds gathering in the global economy”.

 “If in fact that turns out very differently, but I don’t anticipate that it will, well then we will simply have to do some of what we intend to do over a longer period of time,” she told reporters.

Ms Burton issued the warning at the launch of the party’s Arts policy, which pledges Ms Burton issued the warning at the launch of the party’s Arts policy, which pledges to invest €150m in culture and  the Arts.

She was accompanied by junior Arts minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and junior social protection minister Kevin Humphreys.

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