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Saturday 17 November 2018

Labour Youth call on party to ditch coalition talks

The Labour Party's youth wing has denounced plans for a pact with Fine Gael as inherently undemocratic.

The faction has called on the party leadership to ditch coalition negotiations and focus on being a strong opposition in the best interests of the country.

Colm Lawless, national chairman of Labour Youth, said a deal between the two parties would hand Fine Gael a monopoly of power, backed by 113 out of 166 TDs.

"I fear that Labour's influence will be minuscule and that we are about to allow Fine Gael a free reign on introducing harsh austerity measures which will hit ordinary people hardest," said the Trinity College Dublin student.

"Fine Gael do not rely on Labour to remain in office and this is a serious concern.

"In the case of not holding a balance of power it is wise for us to remain in opposition."

Mr Lawless said Labour Youth campaigned to elect party leader Eamon Gilmore as Taoiseach but the election results showed voters want Labour to lead the Opposition.

"In every functioning democracy it is vital to have a coherent and strong opposition," he said.

"In the case of a so-called 'national' government, a discredited and morally-bankrupt Fianna Fail would be left to lead the charge against the incoming administration."

Mr Lawless urged the planned Labour special delegate conference on Sunday to reject any agreed programme for government involving Fine Gael.

The party's youth wing will have between 40 and 45 members with voting rights, he said.

Around 1,000 party members are expected to cast their ballot on any deal at the weekend in a gathering at O'Reilly Hall in UCD's Belfield campus.

A Labour Party spokesman said: "Labour Youth are a separately constituted organisation and they are entitled to their own views."

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