'It would take one hell of a deal' to get Labour back into Government, Senator says

Labour TDs and senators have mixed views on whether the party should re-enter government, with leader Brendan Howlin outlining at least five 'red lines' that must be agreed for any partnership.

'It would take one hell of a deal' to get Labour back into Government, Senator says

It would take “one hell of a deal” for Labour to be involved in any government after the next general election, a leading party figure says.

Labour TDs and senators have mixed views on whether the party should re-enter government, with leader Brendan Howlin outlining at least five 'red lines' that must be agreed for any partnership.

Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin told the Irish Examiner that any agreement to support a future coalition would more so be up to the membership to decide.

He added: “We'd want to spell out non negotiables. And if they were non negotiable, there's a chance of the Labour membership not voting for it. After the last experience, it would take one hell of a deal and one hell of a programme for government for people to buy into it.”

Mr Ó Ríordáin, a former minister, was critical of his own party during its coalition with Fine Gael in the last government. However, he acknowledges that key red lines, including in education, wages and employment rights, would form part of a any deal if Labour were to consider sharing power once again: “It would want to be pretty appealing.”

Labour closed its pre-Dáil meeting in Cork today, focusing on general election options. With 23 candidates out of a potential 30 chosen, Mr Howlin insists that his TDs, senators and councillors are election-ready.

Mr Howlin and the party want collective bargaining rights between unions and employers agreed.

They also want a €16bn public housing programme and complete free education for children among guarantees if they decide to take part in any future government. A key focus for Labour in the new Dáil session will also be income equality and demands that a future administration increase wages, potentially to the living wage level of €12.30 over the lifetime of the next government.

He also admits the party was badly damaged at the last election, which saw its seat count at the polls reduced from 37 to just seven: “The Labour party was seared by its period in government. Many rationalise within the party that we sacrificed our own party to save the country."

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