Renua Ireland leader Lucinda Creighton says her party would be willing to consider entering a coalition after the next general election with Enda Kenny and Fine Gael.
The former European affairs minister stressed, however, that tax reform and supports for the self- employed would be a red line issue in any coalition talks.
In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Ms Creighton also discussed issues such as Renua’s election goals, budget proposals, and eradicating welfare traps.
Ms Creighton said her ultimate goal was not entering a coalition but to be part of a government that would implement “radical change”.
“It just doesn’t boil down to ‘I prefer Micheál Martin to Enda Kenny’ or ‘I prefer Joan Burton’. Arguably, personalities are a lot less important than policies.”
Ms Creighton said she had no difficulty with anybody in Fine Gael, including Mr Kenny, her former leader.
“I’ve a very different view of the world, but I don’t have any personal animosity at all, genuinely,” she said.
Asked for her view if Mr Kenny approached Renua after the election about a coalition, in a similar way to which the PDs and Fianna Fáil entered power in 1989, she said: “We’ll consider all options of that sort, of course. And then we’d sit down and go through exactly what we intend to achieve in government. And if they’re willing and up for it, fine, but if they are not then we won’t enter government.”
Support for Renua has been mixed since it was unveiled four months ago. While it got almost 10% in May’s Carlow-Kilkenny by-election, some polls suggest it has just 1% support.
Ms Creighton admitted there were good days and bad but noted Renua now had an operation in every constituency nationwide. Each candidate is scored, assessed by a panel and voted on by all national members. Renua has 11 candidates selected so far to contest an election (it lost two recently).Ms Creighton said Renua is not just competing against newly formed groups, such as the Independent Alliance or the Social Democrats, but the older, larger parties.But there are huge differences between what she and Fine Gael think.“I never ever attack individuals or parties, but I point out when there are differences of opinion when they are doing things wrong and I think they [Fine Gael] are doing a hell of a lot of things wrong at the moment.”
She said a red-line issue after the election would be the need to change the tax system for the self-employed.
“If we’re serious about creating an enterprise economy, that must be front and centre,” she said, adding that self-employed Irish people employ 70% of the workforce. Opt-in PRSI schemes, sick-pay support, and welfare fairness for the self-employed are some of Renua’s plans.
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