Joan Burton warns of 'conservative' FF/FG Govt and 'shopping trolley' of Independents' demands

By Elaine Loughlin, political reporter

Tánaiste Joan Burton has warned that we could be facing into a second election if Independents are needed to prop up a government.

She added that a Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael coalition would be a “very conservative” government that would not implement positive social change or deliver a referendum on repealing the Eight Amendment.

Ms Burton said one of the options now appearing would be a Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil government.

She said: “I think that would be a very conservative government and a lot of the positive social changes that the Labour party has in particular stressed in this government and achieved in this government wouldn’t feature.”

Speaking at the Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin this afternoon Ms Burton said while Independents are doing well in the polls they would have a “shopping trolley” of demands going into any potential government coalition.

“I don’t think people want that,” she said.

“But if we have a government that is essentially relying on Independents, all with a long tally list of demands it will mean that precious resources will have to be devoted to very local demands.

“I don’t think a government like that will last very long.”

She said the combination of the current government would get everyone who wants to work back to work and would place an emphasis on social spending.

It comes as the latest poll shows the Labour party have yet again slipped one to 7%. The Red C poll for Paddy Power also shows Fine Gael as the largest party on 30%

Ms Burton said: “The polls have been bounding all around the place, so I don’t know which is right; there are polls morning noon and night.”

She added that in the UK elections the polls were wrong because “shy” voters did not admit their preferred party, while many others only made up their minds in the dying moments of the campaign.

“Don’t turn the switch off and put us back into a darker place than we want to be,” she warned.

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