Friday 28 July 2017

Labour TDs say they won’t abide by vote pact

Gardaí and water protesters watch as Labour leader and Tánaiste Joan Burton leaves the Labour Party think-in at the Glenview Hotel in Wicklow
Gardaí and water protesters watch as Labour leader and Tánaiste Joan Burton leaves the Labour Party think-in at the Glenview Hotel in Wicklow
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Labour Party politicians insist they are highly unlikely to honour in practice the controversial electoral pact with Fine Gael when the General Election campaign enters full swing.

A survey of Labour TDs and senators at the party’s think-in in Wicklow has exposed a general sense of scepticism over the pact.

Several party sources described the pact as a “PR exercise” and said they would not be directing their canvassing teams to urge voters to carry on their preferences to Fine Gael.

Others within the parliamentary party believe the pact is a necessary step to getting back into government with Fine Gael, but said they did not intend to follow the agreement in practice in their constituencies.

But concern within the party about the impact of the agreement was addressed somewhat by senior party officials at the think-in.

The party has agreed to ensure there is no mention of the pact on posters and election literature. However, candidates will have the option of formally mentioning the pact on their personal election material.

One Labour Cabinet minister said these assurances illustrated that the pact was aimed at building the “perception” that Fine Gael and Labour were approaching the election in unity.

“Do we actually expect our lads to ask people to transfer to Fine Gael? Course we don’t,” the minister said.

A junior minister said there was also little expectation that the agreement would be honoured in practice by Fine Gael.

Despite the concerns being expressed privately by Labour politicians, the pact was comfortably passed at the think-in following a recommendation by party leader Joan Burton.

Irish Independent

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