Labour on election footing

Issued 24 November 2017

Labour Party Leader, Brendan Howlin TD, at today’s meeting of the Labour Party Parliamentary Party, laid out the Labour Party’s plan for the possibility of a general election.

Deputy Howlin said:

“The events of the last fortnight have been extraordinary.

“Since late October, Alan Kelly has been tabling questions to the Minister for Justice, to clarify who knew what and when about the strategy employed by the Garda Commissioner to seek to destroy Maurice McCabe’s reputation at a Commission of Inquiry.

“Those questions were not answered in an honest, straight-forward manner. Since then, it has transpired that the Tánaiste took no action after being notified of this strategy before it was going to be deployed; that the Taoiseach has repeatedly misled the Dáil; and the Minister for Justice sat on his hands knowing that the what the Taoiseach was saying was untrue.

“These aren't minor issues.

“My judgement remains that there is still an opportunity for Fine Gael to reflect on this situation over the weekend. It is clear now that a majority of Dáil Éireann does not have confidence in the Tánaiste. If the Tánaiste resigns, the threat of an immediate election could pass, allowing the Taoiseach to focus on Brexit and other matters, as Fine Gael have made clear they want to. But if they are determined not to budge, then so be it.

“It seems likely now that an election will be called over the next week. And we are ready for it.

“We have never had confidence in this Government. Over 18 months, they have kicked every issue of importance to touch. They have passed deeply flawed Budgets. And they have lurched from one crisis to the next.

“The people deserve something better than this. They deserve a Government with a mandate to plot out a better future for our country.

“We have been selecting candidates for the last six months - I am asking our organisational commit tee to meet on Monday to complete this work. Our campaigns and policy units will meet on Wednesday to sign off on our election campaign, our posters and leaflets, and to finish off work on our draft manifesto. And on Thursday, the Executive Board will meet.

“At that point we will have certainty regarding an election, and I will bring our complete election plan to that group for approval.

“Fine Gael have made a mess of all of this. A cynical move by Sinn Féin has been followed by an opportunistic one by Fianna Fáil. And the independents stay in hiding. As ever, Labour is needed.”