Gilmore in domestic ministry would help Labour - Burton
Improvement in economy and resolution of justice issues will help party in polls , Minister says
‘I think people in the Labour Party have made it clear over quite a lengthy period of time that they would very much appreciate if Eamon was able to work full time in a ministry at home,’ Joan Burton said. Photograph: Cyril Byrne / The Irish Times
Joan Burton has added her voice to other members of the Labour Party calling on party leader and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore to assume a domestic ministry in any Cabinet reshuffle after the May local and European elections.
The Minister for Social Protection rejected suggestions that Labour’s poor showing in a recent Irish Times /Ipsos MRBI poll, when it scored just 9 per cent, was due to Mr Gilmore’s focus on matters in the Department of Foreign Affairs to the detriment of his involvement in domestic issues.
“No, I wouldn’t accept that and by the way his visit abroad this week will be critically important in terms of our economic recovery,” said Ms Burton when it was put to her during a canvass in Cork with Ireland South Euro MEP, Phil Prendergast and local councillors.
However Ms Burton said that many in the Labour Party had argued that Mr Gilmore should assume a ministry with a domestic focus in any reshuffle and she believed that would be a positive development for the party.
“I think people in the Labour Party have made it clear over quite a lengthy period of time that they would very much appreciate if Eamon was able to work full time in a ministry at home. I think he has indicated through some of his spokespeople that that is his interest as well,” she said.
“Certainly that would be very positive if that were to happen,” she added.
She expressed confidence that a turnaround in the economy and resolving issues in justice along with the track record of Labour candidates would help the party achieve more than its 9 per cent poll rating .
“Yes, the Labour Party has a lot of work to do .... undoubtedly the various issues arising particularly from the justice issues that have arisen have had impact on the polls for both government parties and it is very important that those matters are dealt with,” Ms Burton said.
“The poll reflects the issue that has arisen as a consequence of the difficulties in the department of justice .... I believe as the Government sets out how those matters will be resolved, I believe people will be far more satisfied as a consequence.
“But also (people will more satisfied) with the fact that employment and people going back to work is significantly improving and that above all else when I go canvassing, is the one thing that people want to see- an economic recovery.”
Ms Burton stressed that she believed Labour would also fare better than its poll rating of 9 per cent because of the proven track record of its candidates in their communities which would be recognised by voters when they go to the polls for the local and European elections in May.