#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 3°C Monday 12 April 2021

Politics is a "blame game", says Burton

The Minister also told TheJournal.ie that she accepts her colleague Minister Alan Shatter’s explanation over the Wallace controversy.



POLITICS IS A “blame game”, the Minister for Social Protection has said.

In an exclusive interview with TheJournal.ie, Minister Joan Burton was asked if she thought Labour had shouldered some of the blame for decisions made by the coalition.

In reply, she said:

People in the population support… different parties, different politicians. I suppose it’s an adversarial situation. If you like, politics is one of those things that’s a ‘blame game’. People in one party are always pointing at the other crowd.

However, she said that she has travelled the country speaking to people, and that she finds a lot of people saying “look we know you got a difficult job, you’re doing a good job and please, you know, do the job and, if you like, finish the job”.

“A lot of the decisions have been difficult,” said the minister of the job being done by Fine Gael-Labour coalition. She said that people see social welfare in two ways, of its spend being very important in terms of spending in the economy, or those who are fiscally conservative wanting to cut that spend.

On the other hand, all of that €20 billion [spend] breaks down to an individual, to a family, to a community, and then if you say to some of those fiscally conservative people that some of the changes they are proposing are going to affect real people, real communities, then you find a slightly different tune being played.

She said she is very committed to her job, and that it is a great privilege – but also noted that “women are a bit thin on the ground in the cabinet”.

I think we are very conscious that as four women we speak for a lot of other women as best we can in terms of our commitments on issues like childcare.
And I only wish that perhaps in some of the discussions that we’ve had that the kind of understanding that a lot of women have about the practicalities of some of the issues… that these are more reflected in debate; maybe we wouldn’t have had some of the issues we have this week.

Future party leader?

When asked if she saw herself as leader of the Labour Party in the future, Minister Burton said: “I am very interested in the job I’m doing, I have been involved in the Labour party all my life and I am happy to serve in any capacity.”

She described Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has having “a big job to do as Minister for Foreign Affairs” and said he has been working hard on that. She said that people are very supportive of Gilmore, and she is also very supportive of him.

But the answer is – I’m happy with the job I’m doing

Shatter controversy


The minister also gave her thoughts on the recent controversy involving Deputy Mick Wallace and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.

She said that Minister Shatter has apologised for what happened in relation to the comments that he made about Wallace on Prime Time, and that she accepts his explanation.

Burton said that the no-confidence motion in Shatter that was brought before the Dáil by Fianna Fáil was “rather wrongly” called by the opposition party.

I have to say I look across the Dáil and I see people who have, let’s say, been involved in paramilitary activities and so on. He has apologised. He has apologised now twice and I certainly don’t think it is a resigning matter. I think he has made it clear that he certainly mis-spoke.

Read: Ming: Shatter released info about me, but I’m not saying what that info is>

Read: Shatter survives Dáil motion of no confidence with 88-45 win>

Read next: