Friday 28 October 2016

Election pact with FG 'fraught with danger', says Labour's Joe Costello

Joe Costello
Joe Costello

A former Labour minister has warned that a voting pact with Fine Gael would be "fraught with danger".

Dublin Central TD Joe Costello said he is concerned the Labour party could be "stampeded" into a pact with Fine Gael prior to the election.

Mr Costello said he communicated his views with party leader Joan Burton yesterday and that he believes such a proposal should be "fully teased out" with members.

"Fine Gael has already distanced itself from a future coalition with Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein.

"Sinn Fein and Fianna Fail have made similar noises in relation to Fine Gael and to each other.

"Labour therefore is in an excellent position to pick up transfers from all of these parties, other smaller parties and independents," he added.

Mr Costello's Dail colleague Dominic Hannigan has also voiced opposition to such an arrangement.

Several party sources have said Ms Burton may have moved too soon on the pact.

But as Ms Burton continues to convince her colleagues of the merits of the pact, a former Fine Gael strategist called on both parties to go a step further and adopt a joint five-point plan.

Frank Flannery said such a plan would give voters a clear idea of the options in terms of the next Government.

He said that the agreement should focus on areas such as reducing taxation, improving public services, jobs, and achieving additional social reform.

"It should not be a joint policy platform, but it should have content," Mr Flannery told the Herald last night.

"But a five-point plan could then be built on by a Programme for Government. It would show that this Government is a cohesive and united," he added.

Speaking in Dublin yesterday, Ms Burton defended the decision to detail plans for a voting pact with Fine Gael.

"We've worked well the two parties in this government in trying and difficult circumstances for people. Why then would we not say to people that if we can bring together and get support from the people that we will look at transferring votes between the two parties?" she said.

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