Saturday 18 November 2017

Tánaiste has door open to deal with Soc Dems

Tanaiste and Labour Party Leader Joan Burton. Photo: Barbara Lindberg.
Tanaiste and Labour Party Leader Joan Burton. Photo: Barbara Lindberg.

Niall O'Connor and John Downing

Tánaiste Joan Burton has refused to rule out the prospect of doing business with the Social Democrats - despite attacking the party's tax proposals.

Ms Burton also accused the newly-formed party of having no "plan" in relation to how it intends to reduce the cost of public services for families.

Ms Burton singled out one of the co-leaders of the Social Democrats, Stephen Donnelly, whose impressive performance during the leaders' debate has boosted the Social Democrats.

"When Mr Donnelly was talking on the debate the other night, he absolutely ruled out any kind of tax relief, tax reduction, tax re-balancing, for people on very low incomes, particularly young workers coming into the Labour force. I think they're absolutely mistaken in that," Ms Burton said.

Despite the criticism, the Dublin West TD repeatedly refused to rule out the prospect of serving in a rainbow government that involves the Social Democrats and Fine Gael.

"A week is a long time in politics and I've said to you constantly that my view is that voters will make up their minds only in the last few days," Ms Burton said. Róisín Shortall, another one of the co-leaders, also refused to rule out serving in a rainbow coalition. "It is wide open," she said.

Scrutiny

Meanwhile, Ms Burton yesterday claimed female politicians come under greater scrutiny than their male counterparts over their public performances.

She 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.

Ms Burton also 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."

Irish Independent

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