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"The addiction of politics is in me... but there's always part of me saying: ‘Do you want it?’"

Dublin’s Lord Mayor Christy Burke talks about Sinn Féin, the coalition, and whether he’d join a new political party.

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Video: Michelle Hennessy/TheJournal.ie

Anybody in politics is probably ready in their mind for government, but whether you can address it and carry out the action when you get it is another thing.

CHRISTY BURKE HAS said he believes Sinn Féin should remain in opposition following the next General Election.

Dublin’s Lord Mayor was a long-time member of the party until he became an independent three days after the local elections in 2009.

Burke told TheJournal.ie that Sinn Féin is “as ready as anybody” to enter government but said, if he was still a member, he wouldn’t favour such a move.

Time will tell and then the people will tell if they are [ready] … If I was a member of Sinn Féin I’d probably say: ‘No, stay in opposition because if you go into government as a junior partner it’s a poisoned chalice and you’re hung out to dry.’

Have a look at the history: PDs, Greens, Labour … the smaller one will take the hit. You go anywhere in the Dublin central constituency, no one mentions ‘Fine Gael are cutting the children’s allowance’, they say Labour cut it.

He said Sinn Féin will need to “tread carefully”, but added: “It’s their call, they’re more than capable … let them at it.”

Sinn Fein. Pictured (LtoR) Deputy Lead Mary Lou McDonald, Gerry Adams and Lynn Boylan (File photo) Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Burke said anyone who described his decision to leave the party so soon after being re-elected as disingenuous had their “head in the clouds”.

I would have got elected on my work record. If there were a few die-hard Shinners in the area who believed they voted me in, I did tell them they were welcome to have their votes back in the next election and I’d prove them wrong – and I did.

“It was time for me to move on. It was time for me to vote with my conscience, not the whip.”

Independent Alliance

Burke is considering running for the Dáil in the next election. He has seven previous failed attempts under his belt, but isn’t put off by that.

He’s considering joining the Independent Alliance being set up by Shane Ross and Michael Fitzmaurice.

The addiction of politics is in me: 92% up there is saying ‘Go’, but there’s 8% saying: ‘Do you want it?’

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Burke doesn’t have much time for Lucinda Creighton’s new party, describing it as “noise”. He said Fitzmaurice is more likely to set up a successful party despite being “only a wet day in the game”.

As for the current coalition? Burke said he’s “disgusted” with Labour for failing to protect the working class, as they had promised pre-election. He’s no fan of Fine Gael either, saying its handling of issues such as overcrowding in hospitals, medical cards, emigration and the introduction of water charges leaves a lot to be desired.

“They have failed,” he said of the coalition.

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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