Tuesday 20 March 2018

Email reveals how Joan Burton has instructed officials to prepare for second election

Labour party leader Joan Burton. Photo: David Conachy. 26/03/2016
Labour party leader Joan Burton. Photo: David Conachy. 26/03/2016
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Labour Party leader Joan Burton has instructed her officials to prepare for a second election, Independent.ie can reveal.

In an email to Labour members, Ms Burton said the “current uncertainty” around government talks mean another election “cannot be ruled out”.

“Accordingly, our general secretary is making provision for that, and has been in touch with candidates in recent days. We will be ready should another election occur,” Ms Burton said.

Ms Burton described discussions last week with Fine Gael on the formation of the next government as a “listening exercise” on Labour’s part.

“At the moment Fianna Fail appear unwilling to participate in government, Sinn Fein are determined to be destructive in opposition and Fine Gael have thus far failed to reach any agreement on a minority administration with the Independents. It was therefore unsurprising that Fine Gael turned to us in recent days,” she said.

She insisted the party has responsibility to “at least consider” the possibility of returning to government but said any decision would be put to a special delegates conference.

However, the acting Tánaiste said her preferred option for the future of the party is to form a “progressive alliance” in the opposition benches with the Social Democrats and the Green Party.

“The purpose of such a progressive alliance would be to ensure a strong grouping in opposition to fight for progressive causes and ensure policies are promoted that improve people’s lives,” she said.

Ms Burton said members have been overwhelmingly supportive of the idea with 90pc of those responding to her saying they support the establishment of a progressive alliance.

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