#LP15 - Joan Burton: We will increase child benefit and give two weeks' paternity leave
LABOUR Party leader Joan Burton has pledged to increase child benefit and introduce two weeks paid paternity leave in a bid to shore up badly needed support ahead of the general election.
Ms Burton also made childcare a key battleground for the election as she promised to introduce a second free pre-school year if Labour are re-elected to government.
The Dublin West TD made a series of pre-election promises during her keynote address at the Labour national conference in Killarney, Co Kerry.
And she moved to firmly rule out the prospect of a coalition with Sinn Fein or Fianna Fáil, adding that the Opposition would create a "coalition of chaos".
And in a poignant moment, the Dublin West TD recounted a meeting she had with a woman whose son is gay.
"She wanted what every Irish mammy wants for their child. We were both a bit emotional. Tears welled up as I realised we're fighting for more than just two people in a loving relationship. We're fighting for everybody who loves them in turn."
Close to 1,000 Labour Party members attended the conference which passed off without major incident.
Despite the party's poor poll rating, TDs and delegates expressed optimism about Labour's election hopes.
During her speech, Ms Burton called for banks to give something back to the taxpayer who have saddled their major debts.
"It is only right that the people share in any benefits that flow from selling them, In other words, a social dividend. A measure of fairness for the massive injustice inflicted on all of us," she said.
The conference continues tomorrow as delegates prepare to vote on an emergency motion on Aer Lingus.