Friday 19 January 2018

Spring warns of fresh election within a year

Barry Duggan

FORMER Labour leader Dick Spring yesterday warned there will another general election within a year if Fine Gael forms a minority government with the support of Independents.

The man who led Labour into successive governments in the 1990s said the main opposition parties would not have time for in-fighting with each other after the election because of the problems facing the country.

"I think the balance between Fine Gael and Labour would be in the best interests of the country," Mr Spring said.

He said the next Dail needed a "strong working majority because the challenges facing the incoming government are probably going to be as great if not greater than any government we have elected in the history of the State".

Mr Spring dismissed comments about controversial newspaper advertisements taken out by Labour criticising Fine Gael over the past week, insisting it was "all part of the campaign".

The veteran of previous coalition negotiations between the warring parties said he could not see any difficulties to Fine Gael and Labour sitting down together to "work out a programme for government".

"There won't be any insurmountable problems" he said. "If we are going to tackle the huge financial and fiscal problems this country is facing, they won't have time for petty rows."

Regarding a bid by Fine Gael to go it alone, Mr Spring warned: "If we have a minority government depending on Independents, you will be talking to me again within 12 months because there will be another general election."

He was speaking yesterday in Adare at a lunch for James Heffernan, Labour's candidate in Co Limerick.

Irish Independent

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