Opinion John Downing

Sunday 21 January 2018

Labour transfer pact leaves huge challenges

Tanaiste Joan Burton
Tanaiste Joan Burton
John Downing

John Downing

Labour can hang in with Fine Gael - or else they can just go hang. That is a crude but accurate summation of the options for the junior Coalition partner as the general election draws nearer. Labour's only hope for transfers is to make public common cause with the party with which they will have served a full five-year government term come the upcoming general election.

That election will now be next spring - quite likely called next February and held in early March. The recurring controversies surrounding Irish Water, and the persistent friction still prevailing from the Fennelly report, have banished any residual speculation of a pre-Christmas dash to the polls by Enda Kenny.

Anyone with a glancing knowledge of politics knows that Labour are blocked by Sinn Féin on their left flank. Labour backroom strategists have also long ago discounted hopes of the traditional reliance on votes from a plethora of leftist, protest and alternative candidates. Labour, as an establishment party of government since March 2011, does not expect sympathy from those quarters.

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