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Gilmore labels Fine Gael politicians of the past

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore today claimed his potential coalition partners Fine Gael are not bothered by crippling cutbacks and tax hikes.

Launching his party's general election campaign, Mr Gilmore also branded his chief rivals politicians of the past, in an attempt to put clear water between the pair.

"This election is a three-way contest between Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour," he said.

"Fianna Fail, who have failed our country; Fine Gael, who have learned nothing from those mistakes, whose politics is the politics of the past, who talk about renegotiating the IMF package but who are, in reality, comfortable with the austerity it demands."

But he added the country is too small and its problems too great to indulge in divisions or solo runs.

"This is not the time for division, for divided parties, or a divided country," he said. "This is the moment we must come together and move forward together."

The Labour leader said his party would outline different policies almost every day between now and the election based on three key themes - jobs, reform and fairness.

They will release details tomorrow of an alternative €7bn cost-cutting and tax-raising plan to help cut the deficit to EU levels by 2014.

Mr Gilmore said the February 25 election would be the first time in the state's history that Labour had a chance of taking enough seats to lead the next government.

PA Media