Tánaiste Joan Burton has come out strongly against a snap November general election, despite Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s refusal to rule out a cut and run poll.
Ms Burton’s unambiguous move was being seen as a bid to put public pressure on the Taoiseach to resist growing calls within Fine Gael for a pre-Christmas Dáil showdown.
The Labour leader said she had “long, friendly” conversations with Mr Kenny on the matter and the talks “ended in next year” though she stressed no guarantees had been given to her on the electoral timing.
“Everybody in Government is very conscious that we made a priority of the banking inquiry.
“Under Dáil rules the banking inquiry now has an extension into January,” the Tánaiste said.
Ms Burton said three major pieces of legislation needed to go through the Oireachtas before the election, including the Finance Bill, the Social Welfare Bill and measures to end emergency controls on public sector pay.
After repeatedly insisting he would lead the Government to a full term resulting in a general election in February or March, Mr Kenny has suddenly refused to rule out a November poll in recent days.
The Taoiseach attempted to make light of the issue by stating: “Actually its seven years in the Constitution but convention says it’s five.”
As the campaign neared, Labour moved to position itself as the party of childcare with a policy launch focusing on a “use it or lose it” parental leave scheme of up to 12 months which it wants brought in by the next administration so as to encourage fathers to spend more time caring for their children.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved