Brendan Howlin is labouring under the misapprehension that Fianna Fáil are more certain than Fine Gael about keeping Sinn Féin out of Government.
That’s according to Fine Gael Carlow TD, Pat Deering who says: “Brendan Howlin’s bizarre claim just shows how desperate Labour are to make themselves relevant to political debate.
“Voters need to be aware; it is Fianna Fáil who would put Sinn Féin in Government. Numerous members of Fianna Fáil have floated the idea of Government with Sinn Féin, including front bencher Jim O’Callaghan as recently as this weekend.
“The Fine Gael Party and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar have been abundantly clear; we would not countenance Government with Sinn Féin.
“Aside from the toxic culture of bullying in Sinn Féin and their closed doors approach to Party business, highlighted by the way they ‘elect’ their Party leader, Fine Gael has always been incompatible with that Party on economic policy.
“We only have to look at their Pre-Budget submission this week to see why.
“Sinn Féin propose an anti-jobs and anti-business Budget and reconfirm their position as the high tax party. Their alternative budget proposes €2 billion in tax hikes. With their additional levy on incomes over €100,000 by 7 cent in each euro they would discourage the very kind of high quality jobs we are trying to attract to Ireland.
“For some reason, Sinn Féin don’t appear to hold pensioners in as high a regard as the rest of the population; they have proposed a €5 increase in all working age payments, yet only a €4.50 increase in pension payments.
“In a bizarre contradiction with their own policy in the North, Sinn Féin suggest we should increase VAT for the tourist sector in the South. While we are used to the ‘two Sinn Féins’, North and South, it is startling to see the disregard they have shown both for border communities and the fact that the fall in the value of sterling has made short breaks here more expensive for British visitors, a crucial demographic for the Irish tourism sector.
“By contrast, Fine Gael is set to balance the books in next week’s Budget for the first time in a decade having overseen the first jobs led recovery in the history of the state. In just over six years, we have gone from a position where we have created 225,000 jobs, brought the unemployment rate down to 6.1% from 15.2%.
“The kind of economic illiteracy we see from Sinn Féin is anathema to a Party like Fine Gael which prides itself on prudent management of the economy throughout its history. We are very clear we would not do business with Sinn Féin. As for Fianna Fáil, the question remains open.”