Labour will not suffer same fate as Lib Dems - Burton
Tánaiste contrasts impending cuts in UK with economic recovery in Ireland
Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton said the Irish election would be about economic recovery and would be very different to the UK contest. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins
Tánaiste Joan Burton has said she does not believe Labour will suffer the same fate in the next general election as the Liberal Democrats in the UK election
Asked if she was concerned that Labour, as the smaller party in government like the Liberal Democrats, could suffer a similar dramatic loss of seats, she said the Irish proportional representation system was markedly different to the UK’s first-past-the-post.
“It would be very unlikely that any party, or group of parties in Ireland, would be able to govern on less than 40 per cent, but, as we can see from the UK results, that is a significant majority there,’’ she added.
Ms Burton, who was speaking to journalists at the annual James Connolly commemoration in Arbour Hill, Dublin, on Sunday, said Ireland had coalition governments for a long time and the outcome of the next election was likely to be the same.
“The big issue will be around stability, and continuing the progress we have made, or disparate groups, who certainly have policies in relation to a large number of things, but whether or not they can reach any agreement has yet to be seen,’’ she added.
She said the Irish election would be about economic recovery and would be very different to the UK contest.
“In the UK, they are facing into a series of very draconian cuts, which formed the basis of their election,’’ she added.
“Thankfully, we have now left that period behind.’’
Ms Burton said 90,000 more people were employed in Ireland, and there had an expansionary budget, on a small scale, for this year. There would be another budget in October, with room for expansion to the tune of €1.2 billion to €1.5 billion, she added.
She said it was far too early to talk about a pre-election pact with Fine Gael.
“The two parties in government have distinctive policies and, in the programme for government, we agreed to prioritise those policies,’’ she added.
She said the Coalition had achieved a great many of its objectives and the next budget would be about recovery and putting people back to work and more money in their pockets.
Ms Burton repeated her view that the Government should serve its full term, adding it had taken a decision in principle to do so. The election has to be held by April 9th next year.