Wednesday 24 January 2018

Burton Bites: Where Joan stands on Ireland's issues

Future Labour leader reveals 'friendly, robust competition' with Leo Varadkar

Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

Joan Burton is due to be elected as Labour Party leader this afternoon. Here’s her thoughts on a variety of topics from an interview with

On cutting child benefit, respite care grants and maternity benefit as Social Protection Minister:

“Every Government minister is responsible for the decisions that they make.”

On accepting responsibility for Budget cuts:

“I am fully responsible. Those decisions were appallingly difficult but what has come out of some of those decisions is reforms which are not only positive in terms of individuals, people and communities.”

On her criticism of the exclusivity of the Economic Management Council:

“Big spending ministries have to be involved and that means that ministries like education, social protection need to have a constructive engagement of the EMC.”

On the Garda Siochana controversies:

“When we were going up to Aras an Uachtarain on the first night to collect our seals of office, I have to say that I didn’t anticipate that that would be a kind of seminal crisis in the life of the Government.”

On working in Tanzania at the same time as the IMF was in the country:

“Default. I saw what that meant so I have never been a fan of that.”

On a lack of growth and deflation:

“That’s the biggest risk to the European economy and, in a way, to the Irish economy.”

On Enda and Eamon:

“Eamon worked tirelessly. He actually worked with total integrity on behalf of Ireland. And the Taoiseach has done the same. So it has been really an honour to work with both of them and be in Cabinet with both of them.”

On how her relationship with the Taoiseach would work:

“I would see it operating well.”

On how she gets on with her constituency colleague Leo Varadkar: “Friendly, robust competition.”

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