JOAN BURTON HAS said she has had discussions with the Taoiseach about the date of the election, but has declined to say whether or not he informed her of the date.
The Tánaiste and Labour leader was speaking the day after Enda Kenny said he had a date for the election his head but he declined to disclose when it is.
Much of the speculation in political circles is centring on 26 February being the date of the vote.
Burton dropped her own hints today when she said told journalists they should be ready for the election “anytime” after the Labour party conference, which takes place on 30 January.
“Fianna Fáil’s [Ard Fheis] is this week, the Fine Gael Ard Fheis is after that, and ours is after that again and, if I were you, I’d be ready anytime after that to anticipate that we’ll have the election, as the Taoiseach has said, in the early spring,” Burton told reporters today.
She was speaking at the launch of Labour’s workers charter – ‘Standing Up For Working People’ – with her party committing to increasing the minimum wage to €11.30 over lifetime of next government if re-elected.
Burton later said she had found room on “almost every occasion” she has met with Kenny to discuss the election, but later said we would have to wait “a little bit longer” for the date to be disclosed.
Asked if Kenny had told her the date that’s in his head, Burton said:
We’ve had some discussions, but the date will be finalised and I’m sure you’ll all be the first to know.
Burton also expressed confidence that she can hold her own Dáil seat in Dublin West.
Earlier, former Fianna Fáil councillor David McGuinness, who has aligned himself with the Independent Alliance, predicted that Burton, his constituency rival, would lose her seat.
But the Tánaiste insisted: “In every election I face a battle and I think, to be honest, every candidate in every election faces a battle.
“All I can say is that I am very confident, certainly from the response I’ve been receiving over the last couple of years and, as you know yourself, elections depend on all of the work that somebody does.”