Alan Kelly accuses Greens of refusing to 'put their shoulder to the wheel'

The new Labour leader does not expect to enter a new government coalition.
Alan Kelly accuses Greens of refusing to 'put their shoulder to the wheel'

The Labour Party is not looking to enter government but it could support one from opposition, according to its new leader Alan Kelly.

Breaking his silence since being elected the party’s 13th leader, Mr Kelly said Labour does not expect to enter a new government coalition.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have both said they are keen to speak to Mr Kelly about Labour forming part of the next administration.

Mr Kelly said although his party will talk to anybody as "the appropriate thing to do at this time", he does not believe they will be in a position to go into a coalition.

“There are four large parties, any three of which could form a government. It is up to them to do so.”

Mr Kelly said he was disappointed that the Green Party “with their large mandate” is “not willing to put their shoulder to the wheel.”

When asked if the Labour party would participate in a confidence and supply agreement with a new government, Mr Kelly said that a document was due to be sent to all political parties this week and his party would consider it in detail and would respond.

The new party leader said he was looking forward to putting forward the Labour party’s vision "to show that we are different to all the other parties."

He said he believes there is a need for a strong majority government. "That’s what the four (other political parties) should be doing.”

There is a need for a strong opposition, that was critically important. A majority government is going to have to make difficult decisions and strong opposition is needed to challenge those decisions, he said.

Mr Kelly said that while his party is ready to act in the national interest during the immediate future of the crisis in the coming weeks, other parties who won more seats are more interested in game-playing than stepping up to the plate.

In this time of crisis Labour will offer constructive support for the national effort as we have done over the few weeks.

"As leader, I will, of course, continue to engage with all parties but when it comes to forming a government we have been very clear since the general election, that it is up to other parties to take their responsibilities seriously and it is up to them to form a stable government,” Mr Kelly said.

“It seems that some parties are more interested in playing politics than solving the crisis the people of this country face. With the election of five new Senators this week our Oireachtas team has nearly doubled.

"With that new strength we will continue to work to make Ireland a better place especially in the areas of healthcare, education and job creation, he added.

Mr Kelly’s predecessor Brendan Howlin had hoped to double the party’s number of seats from seven to 14 but Labour won just six seats on February 8, thus precipitating the leadership contest.

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