Wednesday 21 February 2018

O'Connor to take swipe at FG during fringe meeting

Jack O'Connor
Jack O'Connor

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

SIPTU President Jack O'Connor will today take several swipes at Fine Gael as more than 1,000 anti-water charge demonstrators descend on the Labour Party National Conference in Killarney.

Mr O'Connor will use his speech at a Labour fringe event to criticise the jailing of five protesters earlier this month.

He is expected to say that the party should not stand by while individuals are jailed over their decision to protest in a move that will heighten tensions between SIPTU and the Labour leadership.

Mr O'Connor will also call for the water conservation grant, currently set at €100, to be increased. But the union leader will use his speech to focus on Labour's achievements in government and call on the party to stand independently at the upcoming general election.

His intervention may prove to be significant as party leader and Tánaiste Joan Burton and deputy leader Alan Kelly have this week said they are in favour of some form of pre-election pact.

Mr O'Connor, whose union still holds significant influence over Labour, will attempt to clearly differentiate Labour's values from those of Fine Gael.

He is expected to suggest that Labour has received a disproportionate level of public backlash compared with Fine Gael and that the party should look towards being part of a centre-left coalition after the next elections.

John Drennan's Guide to Politics - Spring 2015

The next election will change your life. In a special supplement with the Sunday Independent, John Drennan presents his guide to Irish politics.

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