Brendan Howlin: Fianna Fáil left a plan that had more holes in it than a swiss cheese

By Elaine Loughlin, political reporter

Joan Burton has said the Taoiseach will clarify his position on a possible coalition with Fianna Fáil today.

Minister Brendan Howlin has also said that the party have come under attack for getting the country back on track.

It comes as Enda Kenny yesterday said he would “not contemplate” doing a deal with Michéal Martin’s party but failed to fully rule it out.

The Tánaiste was speaking at the launch of the Labour’s manifesto this morning which promises to invest in services and reduce taxes for working families, including USC.

Labour's election manifesto also promising free GP care for all by 2021 and an increase in minimum wage to €11.30 an hour.

Speaking at the event Joan Burton said the manifesto is “a radical and responsible programme for continued recovery, for social recovery and reform”.

“No other party has the same level of ambition for investing in the services required,” Ms Burton said.

Labour has also promised a referendum on the Eight Amendment if re-elected to government.

Ms Burton said: “We are saying that if Labour is in government we will insure that there is a referendum on the Eight Amendment.

“There will be a referendum on the Eight Amendment if Labour is in government, equally there will not be a referendum if Labour is not there.

“I would be very confident given the way that we have worked with Fine Gael that there would be a referendum,” she said.

Asked about a coalition between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, Ms Burton said she had met with Mr Kenny last night and he had assured her that he would rule this out today.

“I met the Taoiseach last night and he told me that he intended – we were meeting just down the road here in Garda Headquarters all the senior gardaí in relation to the issue of security and the impact of gangland murder – and I expect that, perhaps as I am speaking that he is clarifying that situation, he wants to see Fine Gael for his part, just as I want to see Labour for my party returned to government.”

Labour’s Brendan Howlin hit out at both Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin at the launch at DIT’s Grangegorman campus.

He claimed that Michéal Martin has been engaged in “fairy stories” while Gerry Adams doesn’t want to be in government

“Adams and Martin are scrapping because their battle is to lead the opposition, please don’t be fooled it’s nothing more than that,” Mr Howlin said.

He also said his party is under attack for standing up during the country's time of need.

He said: "Our opponents made no contribution to our recovery. They opposed every step, every measure we made over the last five years.

"Fianna Fáil left a plan behind them that had more holes in it than a swiss cheese, and we fundamentally changed it."

Most Read in Ireland