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Slapped down: Joan Burton insists she IS Alan Kelly’s boss

The Labour deputy leader said yesterday that in politics “you are your own boss”.

28/02/2015. Labour - 68th National Conference. Pic Alan Kelly with Joan Burton at the Labour conference in Kerry last year Source: /Photocall Ireland

JOAN BURTON HAS said she is “of course” Alan Kelly’s boss after the Labour deputy leader said in a newspaper interview at the weekend that he is his own boss.

The Tánaiste and Labour leader was responding to a much-discussed interview Kelly gave to Niamh Horan in the Sunday Independent yesterday in which, among other things, he said power is a drug that suits him.

Kelly also seemed to reject the notion that Burton, as Labour party leader, is his boss, saying it is not the way he sees the pair’s relationship.

Asked during the interview if Burton is his boss, Kelly told Horan: “Ah sure, in politics you are your own boss really.”

However, when asked today if she is Kelly’s boss, Burton insisted:

Well, yes, of course I am in the sense that I’m the leader of the Labour party and the members of the Labour party voted for my election as leader and Alan’s election as deputy leader.

She added that she was happy that Kelly has undertaken a “significant role in this government” citing his work in “sorting out the issues” with Irish Water and “making real headway” on homelessness.

Asked about Kelly’s comments about power and it being a drug, Burton joked that Kelly “obviously has a great way with words and is a great campaigner”.

“I probably have a slightly different approach. I enjoy being involved in all the activities that politics brings,” she said at the launch of the ONE Campaign’s youth ambassador programme. 

But politics is an enormous privilege and it’s also a very important undertaking and, at the end of the day, can I just say this: the people who really have the power are the citizens and the voters and I think every politician will be highly aware of that in the weeks to come and that’s as it should be.

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