Saturday 14 December 2019

Tanaiste drops biggest hint when election is going to be called

Joan Burton. Photo: Arthur Carron
Joan Burton. Photo: Arthur Carron

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

TANAISTE Joan Burton has hinted that the General Election will be called on Tuesday.

When asked about the election date, the Labour Party leader said she meets Taoiseach Enda Kenny on a Tuesday morning – in an indication that she expects him to dissolve the Dáil later that day.

“The Taoiseach and I meet early on a Tuesday morning, privately, in my offices. And all I can say is I anticipate it will be very soon,” Ms Burton told broadcaster Áine Lawlor on RTÉ’s ‘The Week in Politics’.

However, Fine Gael sources have today stressed that Mr Kenny may wait until later in the week to dissolve the Dáil, possibly on Wednesday. The election is expected to be held either on Thursday, February 25 or Friday, February 26.

It emerged this week that a raft of Labour Ministers have put pressure on Mr Kenny to opt for the Friday so as to ensure students can vote.

But Fine Gael sources say up to 10,000 party supporters intend to travel to London that weekend for Ireland’s Six Nations clash with England at Twickenham. The same sources say holding the election on the Friday could impact on fans’ travel plans.

Meanwhile, Ms Burton categorically ruled out the prospect of being involved in a coalition with Independent TD Michael Lowry.

She said there is “no way” Labour will work with the controversial Tipperary deputy.

Ms Burton also defended her decision to sack a number of her predecessors from Cabinet.

It was suggested to Ms Burton that there remains disquiet within the party over her decision to demote Pat Rabbitte and Eamon Gilmore at the last Cabinet reshuffle. Former Education Minister Ruairí Quinn stepped down amid suggestions too that he was facing the axe.

Ms Burton said she wanted to pave the way for a younger generation of politicians.

“I wanted to provide as I said at the time, room for the class of 2011,” she said. Ms Burton citied Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Ged Nash and Alan Kelly as “vibrant” members of the party who were promoted.

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