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VIDEO: What does Joan Burton think has been Labour's biggest mistake in government?

The Labour leadership contender has given a wide-ranging interview to TheJournal.ie today. Here is some of what she said.

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Camera and editing: Michelle Hennessy

JOAN BURTON HAS said Labour members have consistently told her that the party was not assertive enough when it came to handling mistakes made by Fine Gael ministers including Alan Shatter and James Reilly.

The Labour leadership hopeful was speaking to TheJournal.ie today when she identified the handling of the discretionary medical cards issue – which her leadership rival Alex White has part responsibility for – as the biggest mistake the party has made in government.

But she said that Labour members had been impressing on her that the junior coalition party had not been “sufficiently assertive” when mistakes were made by Fine Gael ministers.

She said it has been an issue raised consistently at leadership hustings in recent weeks. In particular she cited the “mistakes” made by the former justice minister Alan Shatter and the current health minister James Reilly.

joan burton at thejournal Joan Burton speaking to TheJournal.ie at our offices in Dublin today. Source: Paul Hosford/TheJournal.ie

“The whole issue around the controversy surrounding say for instance Alan Shatter and the controversies surrounding James Reilly,” she said. “They would have been the two that people would have mentioned the most.”

She did not specifically answer when asked if Labour should have pushed for Shatter to resign sooner than he did, but noted that in the wake of his departure there is now going to be an independent policing authority.

Burton was also asked about a report in yesterday’s Sunday Independent which said her advisors were having discussions through “back-channels” with the Taoiseach’s officials on a plan for the coalition in the coming years in anticipation of her being the next Tánaiste.

She did not specifically deny such talks have been taking place, but said: “It would be utterly presumptuous to be involved in discussions like that because as I said first of all I have to go out and win the support and trust of Labour Party members and that’s what I am concentrating on and that has my full attention at the moment.”

Tomorrow on TheJournal.ie: How austerity has affected Joan Burton, her views on the legalisation of cannabis and what she thinks of Mario Rosenstock’s impressions of her. 

Originally published 5.01pm

VIDEO: Alex White on how austerity affects him and whether Joan Burton hurt his feelings

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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