Eamon Gilmore: ‘Don’t let FG govern alone’

Former Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has warned the electorate not to “sleepwalk” into voting for a Fine Gael single-party government.

Eamon Gilmore: ‘Don’t let FG govern alone’

He said a weekend poll giving Labour 10% support was traditionally where the party’s support has been in the past, giving it around 20 seats.

In an interview with the Irish Examiner, Mr Gilmore cautioned against Fine Gael getting power alone and said Labour would be driving home this message to voters in the coming weeks.

“I think the Labour Party will do better in the election than the opinion polls have shown. People in a general election look at the economy, at their job, and the future for their family.”

A Red C weekend poll giving the party a boost to 10% was closer to the real support Labour had among voters, he added. This was the normal level of support for the party, except for the Spring tide results in 1992 and the last election in 2011.

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“10% or thereabouts always produced around 20 seats,” added Mr Gilmore.

Voters needed to be told that reelecting the Government was not just about supporting Fine Gael, he said, adding: “If that doesn’t happen then you will have instability. The only stable government that can come out of this election is Labour and Fine Gael. If you don’t get that result, whether it is pulling together a government with independents or whatever formula, it is inherently unstable.”

Asked what Labour’s potential vote might be, he added: “It is whatever is required to make sure that the combined Fine Gael and Labour adds up to 80 plus seats. That’s what’s required because that’s what gives a majority.”

SIPTU president Jack O’Connor said last week that Fine Gael could not be allowed get a “monopoly of power” in Government, by getting enough Dáil seats to form a government without Labour. Mr Gilmore also said Fine Gael could not go in alone.

“They shouldn’t [be allowed go in on their own]. I know better than most what a Fine Gael government on its own would be like. I was in discussions with Enda Kenny, discussing budgets and economic decisions.

“A Fine Gael government would be very different. I think it’s important that the electorate don’t sleepwalk into [voting for] a single party Fine Gael government.

“There are people who may think ‘I want to reelected the Government. The default is ‘well, I vote Fine Gael to reelect the Government’. I think people need to think about it.

“Electing Fine Gael is not reelecting government. It is electing a single party government which we have not had since the 1970s.

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