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Joan Burton: recovery alone won't save Labour

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Tanaiste Joan Burton.

Tanaiste Joan Burton.

Tanaiste Joan Burton.

Tanaiste Joan Burton warned colleagues that the recovering economy alone will not be enough to save Labour from an electoral hammering.

In an email sent to Labour members over the weekend, Ms Burton said the party cannot just expect credit for the recovering economy, but that members must ensure their efforts are highlighted to the public.

"I am confident that Labour will get the credit we deserve. But we cannot just expect that credit to come our way," she warned.

"This means that everybody involved in Labour, from Ministers, Oireachtas members and Councillors to local members, will have to work hard to get the message out that we are delivering for the people," she added.

Ms Burton, who has steadied the Labour ship since becoming leader, revealed: "There will also be some additional leeway to give something back to people after years of very difficult adjustments".

But, she said, the process of raising living standards must be done over a series of Budgets - not just in one fell swoop.

"The recovery has been extremely hard-won and we won't throw it away. So in this Budget, we will focus our efforts on helping people back to work and ensuring work pays," she said.

"The very positive effect of our strong economic performance is that, in this Budget, we won't need any new spending cuts and tax increases to reach our deficit target. As Brendan Howlin has confirmed, we can now do a neutral budget," she added. Ms Burton also took a strong cut at the opposition who she said were "almost killed" by having to welcome recent good economic news.

"It almost killed the Opposition to welcome the economic growth figures - and that shows we are winning the argument, and winning for the people of this country," she said.

She added: "Sinn Fein and the ultra-left, by contrast, would be happy to leave jobseekers languish on welfare with no greater ambition for people. And Fianna Fail are just economic misfits whose crash-and-burn economic policies have led to this country to the brink on more than one occasion."

Ms Burton was speaking as her party registered an increase in its popular support in the latest Sunday Independent/MillwardBrown opinion poll. The party's support now stands at 9pc, up two points on the last poll.

Abortion

Fine Gael remain unchanged on 25pc, Fianna Fail are up point to 21pc, Sinn Fein are 22pc down two, while Independents are unchanged at 23pc.

Separately, the poll showed that a clear majority of people, 56pc, now favour the holding of a referendum to repeal the current position on abortion.

The poll shows that the majority favour a repealing of the controversial eighth amendment to the constitution, which gives equal right to life to the mother and foetus. Pro Life Campaign said the poll results on abortion were "not in the least bit surprising" after misleading debate

Among the key results of the Millward Brown poll were: 56pc of the public support a referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment.

Meanwhile 60 pc support abortion in the case of threatened suicide while 69pc support abortion where the woman is pregnant as a result of rape. Commenting on the poll, Pro Life Campaign Deputy Chairperson Cora Sherlock said: "I'm not in the least bit surprised by these results."

She added: "Take abortion in the case of threatened suicide, nobody can deny that in recent weeks abortion in this situation has been repeatedly presented in the media as a life saving treatment."

Irish Independent