Friday 28 October 2016

This is no time for the Coalition to squabble

Published 11/12/2015 | 02:30

Joan Burton
Joan Burton

Earlier this year, it was reported that, based on internal party polls, the Labour Party would be wise to focus on "fear and the desire for stability".

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Its research suggested that these were the factors influencing the electorate's views as the General Election closes in.

Fine Gael also bought into the argument that a tried and tested Coalition could be offered as a bulwark against economic uncertainty.

Despite shipping criticism across a range of failures, the one area where the Coalition did actually garner consistent credit was on economic growth. Yesterday's figures underlined just how deserved this was, as the latest CSO statistics revealed that the Irish economy expanded by 7pc in one year.

Any joint strategy must be hinged on building a plausible case that the status quo would have considerably more solidity than a Government stitched together from various political odds and ends comprising "multiple parties or Independents".

Cohesion and co-operation are central to this message but yesterday party leader Joan Burton went on the offensive, and the pact for no "fisticuffs" went out the window.

Fine Gael accused Labour of destroying jobs and being anti-business, while the smaller party dismissed its partner-in-government's 'Working Family Payment' policy as "corporate welfare". Instead of presenting a united front and offering strength with a focus on a record of achievement, the Coalition partners are coming over as fractious and divided. Unless the Opposition is hit by a ricochet, the Coalition only serves to injure its own chances by training its guns on each other.

Irish Independent

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