Monday 11 December 2017

Burton: Labour 'absolutely ready' for November poll

Joan Burton has said the Labour party are
Joan Burton has said the Labour party are "absolutely ready" for an election whenever the date is called

Eoghan MacConnell and Niall O'Connor

Tánaiste Joan Burton has insisted the Labour party were prepared for a November election.

Ms Burton claimed her party were "absolutely ready" whenever the date was called.

Despite the party's open displeasure at the possibility of going to the polls in November, which lead to Taoiseach Enda Kenny dropping the idea, Ms Burton last night insisted the party had been prepared for such an event.

Speaking at the Mullingar Chamber of Commerce Dinner, she said: "We were absolutely ready because as Willie [Penrose] will tell you, we had all our poster preparation and everything like that with our paper presses ready to roll whenever the date was called."

Just last week, the Tanaiste had come out strongly against a snap November general election, after Mr Kenny refused to rule out the possibility. This led to significant pressure on the Taoiseach to clarify his position. Mr Kenny later committed to a Spring election and said he got it wrong by allowing speculation about a November date to mount.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael has been accused of providing additional resources to candidates in two constituencies as part of an alleged strategy to "take out" the leadership of Renua Ireland.

Renua claimed that its leader Lucinda Creighton and deputy leader Billy Timmins are on the "Fine Gael/Enda Kenny hitlist" because of their decision to defy the party over the contentious abortion legislation. The claims were dismissed by a Fine Gael spokesman last night.

Fine Gael has opened two new constituency offices in Baltinglass in West Wicklow and Hacketstown in East Carlow. Both lie in the heartland of Renua's deputy leader Billy Timmins. The offices are being used by Junior Finance Minister Simon Harris, and his constituency colleague Andrew Doyle.

The accusations also relate to Fine Gael's strategy in Dublin Bay South, Ms Creighton's constituency. Renua sources say Fine Gael TD Eoghan Murphy has opened a new office there and that significant funds are being channelled to the campaign of his running mate, councillor Kate O'Connell.

"It is very evident they are pouring money into Murphy and Kate," said a source. "There is no doubt Billy and Lucinda are on the Fine Gael/Enda Kenny hitlist.

Irish Independent

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