News Politics

Sunday 31 August 2014

Labour leadership hustings underway in Dublin

Published 09/06/2014 | 19:59

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The Labour leadership hustings.
Ciara Conway
Sean Sherlock

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton and Minister of State at the Department of Health Alex White are vying for the Labour leadership job.

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This evening Joan Burton spoke about the EU debt deal.

She said: "I intend to press our case, through skilled negotiation rather than careless confrontation ... rather than resorting to the bogus threats advocated by our opponents."

Burton conceded that councillors lost seats "because voters were unhappy with our performance in Government".

She said: "Up to now we have concentrated on economic recovery, but this has meant asking an awful lot from people, and we undoubtedly made mistakes along the way."

She said recovery is about getting people back to work and investment in health and education.

She said social recovery means "getting more people back to work and helping small businesses to prosper, building social and affordable homes and new schools, investing in health and reducing inequality".

Burton's opponent said he wants to build a bridge to the people and to the party.

He pointed to legislation for the X case, GP only cards and alcohol strategy as his achievements as a junior minister

He said: "We need to take the fight to Sinn Fein and to others who seek to pass off as policy all kinds of fantasy economics."

Meanwhile, the contest for the deputy leader position is a four-way race.

The candidates for the second-in-command job are: Minister of State for Transport Alan Kelly; Vice Chairperson of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health, Children and Youth Affairs Ciara Conway; Environment Committee Chairman Michael McCarthy; and Minister of State for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock.

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore announced last week that he was standing down as leader in the wake of big losses for the party in the European and Local Elections.

The first Labour leadership hustings finished at around 9pm, and the Leader debate is now underway.

Abour 250 Labour Party members are in attendance.

Labour: Burton says: In government Frank Cluskey and the Labour Party introduced a series of allowances to help women, particularly women parenting alone. #labour2014

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