herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

Tanaiste Joan Burton slaps down Alex White over pact talk

Tanaiste Joan Burton only discovered the identity of her birth mother after her death
Tanaiste Joan Burton only discovered the identity of her birth mother after her death

Tanaiste Joan Burton has distanced herself from remarks by Communications Minister Alex White about a pre-election deal with Fine Gael.

In a move that will be seen as an embarrassing slap down of Mr White, sources close to the Tanaiste dismissed his suggestion of a full-blown policy pact.

“There is little enough chance of a policy pact between the two parties,” a source told the Herald.

The source ruled out a return to a “Mullingar Accord” which then leader Pat Rabbitte and Enda Kenny signed up to ahead of the 2007 General Election.

Dying

However, an arrangement on voting transfers may be agreed in the dying days of the election campaign.

Speaking on RTE radio last weekend, Mr White called for an election pact between the Coalition partners.

“When you look at what we have achieved in Government over the past four-and-a-half years – which has been enormous – I think there is a very strong case indeed for there to be an accommodation between ourselves, the governing parties, to ensure what we have achieved can be built upon in the years ahead,” Mr White said.

Mr White said such an accommodation will be looked at by the Government partners in the coming months.

“I believe in what we have achieved in the last four-and-a-half years in Government, I don’t see a better combination than Fine Gael and Labour,” he said.

The minister, who was a failed contender in the Labour leadership race last year, faces an uphill battle to retain his seat in Dublin South.

A Labour minister yesterday insisted Mr White made the suggestion because such an arrangement could benefit him in his constituency but he was not considering the party as a whole.

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