Opposition failing to produce real alternatives to Government policy, claims Gilmore

Tanaiste says parties concentrating on shouting slogans and designing posters

 Labour deputy leader and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Dublin West byelection candidate Loraine Mulligan at the latter’s campaign launch yesterday in Castleknock. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Labour deputy leader and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Dublin West byelection candidate Loraine Mulligan at the latter’s campaign launch yesterday in Castleknock. Photograph: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Thu, May 8, 2014, 01:00

The Opposition parties are shouting slogans and designing posters but failing to produce alternative policies

, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has claimed.

However, Mr Gilmore denied the same could be said of the Labour Party during its time in Opposition and said its policies were “rightly questioned” before it entered Government.

Mr Gilmore was speaking at the campaign launch for Lorraine Mulligan, the Labour candidate in the Dublin West byelection, in Castleknock.

The Tánaiste claimed the Government’s critics had failed to produce any credible solutions to the country’s issues. “It’s about solving problems. You solve those problems with policies and plans,” Mr Gilmore said. “The unfortunate position at the moment is the Opposition parties aren’t offering any alternatives.”

‘Questioned very closely’

He denied Labour had taken a similar approach in Opposition. “When we were in Opposition, we produced detailed policies, detailed solutions and indeed we were rightly questioned very closely in relation to what we were proposing as alternatives.

“The position at the moment is we are seeing no policies coming forward from Opposition parties. When we were in Opposition, we said you could not get economic recovery without getting a jobs and growth strategy. We were right about that and we are now seeing the results of that.”

Ms Mulligan said she favoured the introduction of policies such as a childcare tax credit, and added she would work for local facilities like Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown.

As had been widely expected, Fine Gael has chosen Senator Eamonn Coghlan as its Dublin West byelection candidate.

Even though Socialist Party councillor Ruth Coppinger is being touted as the favourite, a number of Fine Gael figures are upbeat about Mr Coghlan’s chances.

Some claim to have seen internal polling which showed Ms Coppinger doing well in first preferences but poorly on transfers, with Mr Coghlan very transfer-friendly.

Longford-Westmeath

Meanwhile, Labour has settled uncertainty over whether it would run a candidate in the Longford-Westmeath byelection caused by the death of

Fine Gael TD Nicky McFadden.

Earlier this week, sitting Labour TD Willie Penrose said it was unlikely the party would stand a candidate. However, Mullingar-based councillor Denis Leonard has agreed to stand, saying he feels it is important somebody stands for Labour to sell its message to voters and spell out what it has been doing in Government.

The selection convention is tonight, and Mr Leonard is understood to be the only candidate. He insisted he had a chance, even though Fine Gael’s Gabrielle McFadden is seen as the favourite.