Labour will “stay the course” and will not “flinch” from its challenge of bringing about economic recovery, its leader, Eamon Gilmore has insisted, despite the slump in support for the party in opinion polls.
Mr Gilmore dismissed suggestions that his party was heading for the same fate as the Greens, the junior coalition partners in the last government, which lost all its Dáil seats after propping up Fianna Fáil.
Labour’s support is now at 9%, with Mr Gilmore’s satisfaction ratings lower than any other party leader at 17%, according to the Millward Brown poll.
“What’s concerning me is that we are doing the job that we were elected to do which is to get the country back on its feet economically,” Mr Gilmore said, adding “we have made a lot of progress on that two years into the lifetime of a five-year Government”.
Speaking to reporters after his meeting with John Kerry, the US secretary of state, Mr Gilmore said: “We’ve stabilised the financial situation, we have dealt with the banking issue, we have dealt with the promissory notes, we are now back in the financial markets, we are seeing growth in the Irish economy for the first time since 2008.”
Asked what he would say to voters who feel let down by Labour’s performance in Government, the Tánaiste said: “What I’m saying to people is this Government and the Labour Party in this Government is determined to see through the work we have undertaken.”
He said the job his party took on two years ago was “very challenging” because the country was facing its biggest economic crisis since the foundation of the State.
“We are not going to flinch from that task, we are not going to be deflected from it,” he said. “We have a strategy to bring about economic recovery in our country, we’re getting on with it, we are going to see it through.”
This, he said, was part of what he was doing in Washington DC this week and what other ministers were doing as they travelled around the world, “which is talking to investors, talking to companies which are thinking of locating in Europe, and explaining to them why investing in Ireland makes the best sense”.
“It’s about getting jobs, getting investment, building on what we have already done. We have already made huge progress on the financial side, the public finances and the public service,” said Mr Gilmore.
“What we are now driving ahead with is getting the investment, getting the employment. That’s what we were elected to do, we are going to stay the course, we are going to do it, we are going to complete it. We are two years into the lifetime of a five-year Government.”
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