Joan Burton admits to tensions between Fine Gael and Labour

Tánaiste says any disagreements have not impacted Coalition’s effectiveness

Tánaiste Joan Burton responded to comments comparing the Coalition to a “bad marriage” at MacGill Summer School. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Tánaiste Joan Burton responded to comments comparing the Coalition to a “bad marriage” at MacGill Summer School. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Tánaiste and Labour Party leader Joan Burton has admitted there have been some tensions between her party and Fine Gael in Government but without impacting on its effectiveness.

Arriving in Glenties for the MacGill Summer School, Ms Burton said that the “marriage of convenience” had actually worked well for both political parties.

She was responding to comments from political strategist Frank Flannery where he likened the relationship between Fine Gael and Labour to a bad marriage. He said the parties did not like each other but worked well in government.

“Lots of marriages have tension and that tension can be very creative if the parties want to stay together,” said Ms Burton.

“There has been creative tensions between the two parties on different occasions.

“[The point is] people in Ireland have benefitted because we have seen a significant return to prosperity in this country. We are not completely out of the woods yet.”

Asked about Mr Flannery’s other suggestion that Fine Gael and Labour should fight the election on a joint platform, she replied: “It’s far too early to talk about electoral pacts.

“The Government has a lot of work to do in terms of completing its term.

“People have not yet begun to focus on the make -up of the next government.”

Ms Burton also criticised what she described as the “plethora of small parties” which have been formed recently.

“The only issue seems to be giveaways from new small parties about abolishing water charges and in the case of Sinn Féin not just water charges but property taxes as well.”

She contended the only way that those charges could be replaced was with additional taxes on labour which she argued would act as a deterrent to employment.