JOAN BURTON HAS said that she has a “very strong, positive working relationship” with the Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore despite ongoing speculation that the pair do not get on.
The Social Protection Minister and Labour deputy leader was today responding to the suggestion that she must take some responsibility for Labour’s historic low poll rating of 6 per cent yesterday because of speculation about tensions with party leader Gilmore.
She told a press conference in Dublin: “I hear all sorts of briefings, as you’re suggesting, they didn’t come from me, and you and other journalists are aware of that.
“But, you know, people are entitled to have different views, as your suggesting.”
The Dublin-West TD said she has given Gilmore “an enormous amount of support” and said that this has been reciprocated by the Tánaiste in his support of her reforms in the Department of Social Protection.
Burton insisted that there is “great volatility” in the current opinion polls which suggest a large number of people are undecided.
For his part, Gilmore rejected any suggestion that he might quit as Labour leader if the poll ratings continue to drop for the junior coalition party.
“I intend to complete my term as leader of the Labour Party and I’ve a job to do, that job is to lead my party in government,” he said.
He said that he was determined to contest the next election on the basis that the current coalition will have achieved some level of economic recovery.
On the Budget in less than a fortnight, he added: “I’ve said all along the final decision on the Budget will not be made until we are much closer to Budget day.”
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