Labour rules out re-entering government with FG or FF

Burton’s position as leader under threat and may last just months, say party sources

 Labour  TD  and party deputy leader Alan Kelly yesterday refused to rule out making a bid for party leadership. “Now is not the time to talk about that. We need to see where we end up.” Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

Labour TD and party deputy leader Alan Kelly yesterday refused to rule out making a bid for party leadership. “Now is not the time to talk about that. We need to see where we end up.” Photograph: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

 

Labour has ruled out re-entering government with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil under any circumstances.

Members have insisted the party has no mandate to enter office with either party.

Several sources also insisted the position of Joan Burton as leader of the party was unsafe and would last just a matter of months.

“This has been a disaster,” said a party member yesterday.

“There is no way she can stay on. There will be a period of reflection, where we can establish who will be the best leader for the party, and that will probably take about three months.

“She wouldn’t survive if she did put herself forward as leader.”

Ms Burton has not decided whether she will remain as leader of the party and has refused to be drawn on it when questioned.

Deputy leader Alan Kelly and Brendan Howlin are the most likely successors, but that will not be decided until a conference is held.

The Tipperary TD yesterday refused to rule out making a bid for the leadership. “Now is not the time to talk about that. We need to see where we end up.”

Stable government

“The country needs a stable government,” said Mr Kelly yesterday. “Labour will not be part of that. We need a period in opposition to grow. We need time to reflect.”

Eric Byrne, who lost his seat in Dublin South-Central, said it was very clear the party had no mandate to go into government. “Labour has got a very strong message from the public that they have been rejected and we should obey those wishes.

“On this occasion it is up to the parties who the people voted for to work it out. We got no mandate and we will not be propping up or bailing out any such rainbow coalition.”

Emmet Stagg, who was defeated in Kildare North, said the party had been given a message from the electorate that it must adhere to. “The party shouldn’t go into government. It must stay out and rebuild. The party can revive, but it doesn’t have the mandate to be in office. The message was clear. Voters do not want Labour in government.”

Magic number

Kevin Humphreys

“Nobody is talking about government or forming a government. We are all looking at Willie Penrose and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin now to see if they are elected and if we can reach the magic number seven [to have speaking rights in the Dáil].

“We are all shattered. I would be surprised if we were in government. I would see that it is the responsibility of everybody who has been elected to form a government. We were not given a mandate to go into government.”