Labour leader, Alan Kelly, has criticised Fianna Fail and Fine Gael's tax policies for the wealthy — signalling a further rejection of their attempts to woo his party into government.
Later this week, Labour TDs and senators will discuss the latest attempt by the bigger parties to draw them into a coalition, following a joint letter from Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar and Fianna Fáil's Micheál Martin. The five-page letter, while admitting the country can "not tax its way out of the crisis" and pledging that there will be no cuts, did not satisfy Labour concerns about spending.
Mr Kelly told RTÉ: “Their issues around taxation don't stand up to scrutiny where a government can unilaterally agree to no increases in taxation for wealthy people over the next government or even the whole issue of an effective corporation tax.”
However, Mr Kelly did praise the other two parties for agreeing to implement already agreed public sector pay increases-despite the economic crisis from the pandemic.
Mr Kelly noted that the letter did not come from the Greens — the third party now involved in the coalition talks.
In an earlier statement, the Labour leader signalled that the three parties should get on with the negotiation process, potentially without the involvement of Labour. This would reflect the feelings of party members, many of whom are strongly opposed to Labour re-entering a coalition and instead want the party to focus on its recovery in opposition.
Mr Kelly explained: “There are four parties with more TDs in the Dáil than the Labour Party, and any three of those can form a government with a majority. Detailed negotiations are now underway on government formation between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party.
"And, if successful, would command a majority in the Dáil. We respect the mandate of the participants, and for now they should be given the space and time to reach a conclusion."