Belfast Telegraph

Labour 'better off in opposition'

Labour could better serve the country by rejecting a coalition pact in favour of heading the opposition, an outspoken party TD said.

Tommy Broughan warned of "profound worries" within the party about the prospect of a deal with Fine Gael.

The Dublin North East TD said many younger members in particular did not want to be the "mudguard of some other outfit" for the sake of some power.

The former frontbencher said "grave reservations" remained over whether Labour could enforce its reform plans under the shadow of senior coalition partners with more than twice as many Dail seats.

"People feel it is going to be hard to drive the government and that, therefore, the people we represent might be better protected by leading the opposition. I think there is a strong view along those lines."

Labour has never led the opposition before and some see it as a historic opportunity to smash the traditional claim of either Fianna Fail or Fine Gael to lead government.

Predicting vigorous debate at Labour's planned special delegate conference on Sunday - to vote on any coalition deal - Mr Broughan said fears would be raised that the party could be "decimated" at the next election for propping up Enda Kenny.

One Labour TD, who wished to remain anonymous, said there was a debate opening up in the party about whether they would be better in opposition or coalition.

"There is some people who don't want to go into coalition under any circumstances, but there is a lot of people who feel there is a sense of duty and responsibility to do it," he said.

Some 1,000 people are eligible to attend and vote at the special delegate conference at University College Dublin on Sunday, with a simple majority needed to ratify any programme for government.


From Belfast Telegraph