Labour has confirmed its intentions to stay in opposition after several days of speculation the bruised party was considering returning to power with Fine Gael.
Following a parliamentary party meeting yesterday, Labour chairman Willie Penrose said voters had given others a responsibility to govern and they should go ahead. “It is the view of the parliamentary Labour Party that we did not get such a mandate.
“Labour is a centre-left party and we have a proud history of being prepared to serve in government. We are a party of action, not words, and pontificating and proselytising from the safety of the opposition benches is not what we are about. In that way, we are different from many other parties.
“However, it is clear that on this occasion, the offering we made to the electorate to form part of a stable administration, was rejected.”
It is understooda number of frustrated party members questioned the leadership about weekend reportsthat Labour was considering re-entering government with its former partners Fine Gael.
One senior Labour figure explained: “There are others who it now falls [on] to make up a government.
“Our meeting clearly set out a response, as opposed to one individual who spread it around last week that we wanted to return to government.”
The statement followed an email sent by Labour leader Joan Burton to members earlier this week in which she said the preferred route for the party was to go into opposition and attempt to form some kind of “alliance” with the Social Democrats and the Greens.
While the Social Democrats ruled out such an option yesterday, the Greens are open to the suggestion.
Labour has also advised failed candidates and TDs to be ready for a second general election if one comes about.
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