herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

FG hits backs at Siptu over claims one-party Government will fail

FINE Gael has attacked a leading trade union for arguing against single-party government.

As a new poll suggests that Enda Kenny is edging towards a historic election result, Siptu claimed that a Fine Gael government would be a recipe for disaster.

But two of the party's young guns have hit out at Siptu president Jack O'Connor, with Lucinda Creighton saying: "Jack O'Connor and other wealthy union officials may well dread the prospect of Fine Gael in government as we will not put their interests first."

Frontbencher Leo Varadkar also backed up that argument, stating Fine Gael "won't be afraid to stand up to unions" if in government.

"We want to break the link with politics on one side and big business and unions on the other," he said.

Mr Varadkar also alleged that the Labour Party was getting "a wee bit desperate at this stage".

However, Mr O'Connor today reiterated his belief that a coalition government should be formed after February 25.

He claimed: "A government supported by independents would be the worst thing we could get."

Mr O'Connor said that he wanted "a government that commands widespread support in the country" and "huge support among the popular vote".

The union boss said that he never intended to enter the election debate but had to be honest when questioned about his position.



FUNDING

Siptu is closely linked to the Labour Party and provides significant funding for its work.

Mr Varadkar said: "I wouldn't expect them to say anything different."

But, speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland, Mr O'Connor hit back, saying: "I imagine that people in the Labour Party this morning would be happier if I had keep my mouth shut."

FG has pledged to reduce waste in the public sector and reduce staff by 30,000.

Commenting on the result of a new Irish Independent poll that shows Fine Gael at 38pc against Labour's 23pc, Mr Varadkar said that his party were taking nothing for granted.

"Even if we did get 38pc in the election that wouldn't give you a majority," he said, noting that Fianna Fail had 41pc in 2007.

kdoyle@herald.ie

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