News & Media

A November election will focus on FG policy failures

29 October 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Reacting to the likely general election in the UK, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, said that Leo Varadkar will feel that this gives him the opportunity to seek a general election in Ireland too. If he does, he will want to avoid scrutiny of his government’s failures.

Brendan said:

“Leo Varadkar may well feel that a British election in December gives him time to hold a general election here at the end of November, instead of holding four by-elections and focusing on the winter issues of healthcare and homelessness.

“No one should be in any doubt that Fine Gael will try to make any election about Brexit in order to distract from their failure to adequately address the crisis in healthcare, the lack of affordable housing and the rising cost of living.

"They will try to bury their major mistakes with the public’s money, such as spending extra billions on the national children’s hospital and the national broadband plan, and allowing a situation where the broadband network could be sold to vulture funds after nine years in operation.

"For Leo Varadkar to call a snap election now would not only mean the Government taking their focus off the serious problems in health and homelessness, but they will try to distract the public from these issues too.

“While Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal guarantees an open Irish border, which was our national priority, Fine Gael have still failed to explain what actions they would take to preserve jobs if there is a no deal Brexit. Although a no deal exit is not likely in the next three months, the UK is unlikely to have negotiated a new trading relationship with the EU by the ambitious deadline of the end of 2020, which means that we could find ourselves once again dealing with the threat of job losses and serious economic harm at the end of next year.

“Labour is ready for an election whenever it comes, as we want to see change for the better, away from over-reliance on the private sector to solve public problems like the lack of affordable housing or healthcare inequality. Every generation has seen homebuilding on scale by public agencies, and Labour wants the state to build 80,000 homes over the next five years to solve the current crisis. Labour wants to see basic medical care become delivered on the basis of medical need, not ability to pay, to end the deeply unfair situation where some people are not getting the medical care they need due to cost.

“The last three and a half years have demonstrated the sterility of government under Fine Gael in partnership with Fianna Fáil. Ireland needs a real alternative to their collective failings.”