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Joan Burton warns voters to 'beware of Sinn Féin creeping in the night'

Labour and Sinn Féin launched their general election campaigns today.

Updated 4.25pm 

JOAN BURTON HAS issued a warning to voters about the dangers of electing Sinn Féin to government, claiming it would result in higher taxes and some people’s assets being “taken from them”.

The Tánaiste and Labour leader was speaking at the launch of her party’s campaign at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin today.

Asked what she planned to tell voters on the doorsteps in response to the growing support for Gerry Adams’s party, Burton said:

I am going to say to voters to beware of Sinn Féin creeping in in the night and offering, for instance, to raise taxes on people who earn more than €100,000 by a swingeing 6%.

The Labour leader said these proposals would push effective rates for “a lot of workers in Ireland” up to over 62% and claimed that Sinn Féin’s proposal would see people with certain assets have them “completely taken from them”.

Burton also claimed that after she took over as Tánaiste in July 2014 she convinced the Taoiseach that the government should focus on the reduction of the Universal Social Charge, telling reporters:

We had a long conversation about that and I think I persuaded him that actually offering relief to low and middle income workers on the USC was the best way of addressing how we get momentum and movement in the economy.

‘Enda thinks the people are stupid’

Earlier today, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams claimed the Taoiseach thinks the people are stupid. Adams made the claim in response to Enda Kenny’s remarks earlier this week that the vast majority of people do not understand “economic jargon”.

“According to the Taoiseach, the people are stupid,” Adams said at the launch of Sinn Féin’s election campaign at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin today.

The party is running 50 candidates across the 40 Dáil constituencies in the general election. Sinn Féin candidates have signed up to the Right2Charter charter of principles, which includes the signatures of a total of 96 election candidates.

Asked about possible coalition options after the election, Adams said Sinn Féin is “committed to seeking a mandate to be in government”.

He did not rule out any other party from coalition talks if it is not possible to form a government with Right2Change candidates.

However, Sinn Féin has already said it will only go into government if it is the largest part, while other parties like Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have already ruled Adams’s party out.

The Louth TD also took aim at the other three main parties over their miscalculation of the fiscal space – the amount of money that could be available to the next government over the next five years – in recent days.

Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil have all revised their estimates of the fiscal space in the last few days, having earlier calculated it at €12 billion.

Fine Gael and Labour now claim the fiscal space is €10.1 billion, while Fianna Fáil says it is €8.6 billion – as does Sinn Féin.

“They’ve been caught out cooking the books. Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil should withdraw their manifestos, they’re based on a lie,” Adams said.

Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said that the three other parties manifestos – which have not yet been published – should be withdrawn and “shredded”.

He said the majority of the fiscal space would be used to invest in public services.

Adams said Sinn Féin will secure a recovery that is “fair and equitable” by scrapping water charges and property tax, taking nearly 300,000 low-paid workers out of Universal Social Charge and introducing universal healthcare for all.

He said the parties policies are “prudent, responsible and costed” and will be outlined in detail when the Sinn Féin manifesto is published next week.

Read: Does Fine Gael’s shiny new economic plan actually stack up?

Read: Ten apples for a euro and selfie-mania: Sinn Féin’s somewhat subdued start


About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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