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Joan Burton reckons Labour could win more than 30 seats

The Tánaiste is in optimistic mood this morning.

Joan Burton
Joan Burton
Image: Sasko Lazarov

JOAN BURTON HAS said she is aiming to see all of Labour’s TDs and a number of senators elected to the next Dáil despite low poll numbers indicating the party is facing substantial losses next year.

The Tánaiste and Labour leader was speaking after the emergence of internal party analysis which showed it could lose up to 20 seats in the next election and return just 10 TDs on a bad day.

Labour has also consistently struggled to break the 10% mark in opinion polls in recent years with the latest Red C survey for the Sunday Business Post showing the party on 7% – the exact level of support that forced Eamon Gilmore to resign as leader last year.

Labour currently has 33 TDs and despite widespread predictions that many of these will lose their seats, Burton struck a more optimistic note in Dublin this morning.

The Dublin West said she was aiming to return all deputies and also identified a number of senators as being in with a chance of taking seats in the Dáil.

“What I hope to see, and what I am aiming to do as leader of the Labour Party, is to see us returning all of our deputies and indeed a number of our senators who are particularly strongly placed to win a seat,” Burton said.

“People like Lorraine Higgins in Galway East and John Whelan in Laois.

23/11/2015 The Tanaiste and Minister for Social Pr Joan Burton goes in for a selfie at the launch of College Awareness Week at DIT in Grangegorman this morning. Source: Sasko Lazarov

So I am very confident that as the election approaches, and as people get an opportunity to look at the platforms and programmes of the various parties, I think that what Labour is offering over the next five years to the electorate is something that is deliverable and that makes sense for the country.

Burton also said that people who earn more than €100,000 should still be expected to pay the Universal Social Charge, seemingly putting her at odds with Fine Gael.

The senior coalition party has committed to abolishing the unpopular tax altogether over the lifetime of the next government.

Burton said she was “very flattered” that Fine Gael has “very solidly adopted a Labour proposal” to focus on reducing USC for people on low and middle incomes.

She said USC reductions should be focused people primarily on incomes between €30,000 and €70,000 and up to €100,000. However she said for those earning over that amount she would expect a contribtion.

“In terms of the people in excess of €100,000, I would expect to see them continuing to contribute at a reasonable level in order to get the investment into services that we require in this county,” she added.

Read: The banking inquiry might not be able to publish any report at all

Read: Fine Gael haven’t been this popular since 2012

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