Friday 23 February 2018

Joan Burton claims Sinn Fein is a long way from 'true democracy'

Joan Burton
Joan Burton

Philip Ryan and Fionnan Sheahan

JOAN Burton has claimed there is a “Sinn Fein-nexus” as she categorically ruled out the Labour Party going into Coalition with Gerry Adams' party.

At the first Labour Party leadership debate, Ms Burton said Sinn Fein was a long way from "true democracy" and still had questions to answer overs its links to the atrocities of the Troubles.

The Social Protection Minister received a round of applause from her party members when she condemned Sinn Fein for its links to the provisional IRA and the death of Jean McConville.

Her opponent, Alex White, said he "abhors" Sinn Fein's policies but would not rule out a coalition with the party as an "article of faith".

The leadership candidates were grilled by party members during a debate dominated by discussion on Sinn Fein.

Mr White said he would retain Ms Burton as a minister should he be elected as leader of the party.

But Ms Burton refused to say if she would keep Mr White as a minister should she win vote.

Instead, the minister said she would appoint the "best people" to Government.

Earlier, Mr White ruled out slashing €2bn from the Government's balance sheet at the next budget.

He proposed missing the EU imposed deadline for bringing the Government's deficit below 3pc next year.

He said people have "reached the end of the line" when it comes to cuts in public spending and tax increases.

"There can be no question of an adjustment of the order of €2 billion next year," he added.

"We have an agreed target of reducing the deficit below 3% in 2015 but if we were to miss that deadline marginally or by a few months so be it I say."

His stance would likely lead to Coalition tensions ahead of the forthcoming budget.

Online Editors

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