'It would be an appalling decision to go back into government,' says former Labour strategist

"If they were to go into power now it would split the party down the middle."

'It would be an appalling decision to go back into government,' says former Labour strategist

Photocall file photo

Updated 13.15:

The Labour party has been warned it would be an 'appalling' decision to go back into Government.

Former Labour strategist Fergus Finlay says returning to power now would do irreparable damage to the party.

Labour are currently considering supporting Fine Gael as part of a minority administration, but they'd need to hold a party conference to secure the backing of their members.

Talking to The Pat Kenny Show on Newstalk today, Finlay fleshed out his thoughts on the current election:: "I think it would be appalling. I do not reject the notion of Labour supporting the government from the outside. They should be in the position of supporting what they can and criticizing what they have to. But Labour has no mandate; if they were to go into government now, it would split the party down the middle."

"There's a few things that prompted this, and first thing is, we need a government. [...] There's a sort of sense now that whoever takes government will be at the mercy of the opposition, but nobody is seeing this as an opportunity. [...] You just have to think like Sean Lemass, you have to think like the great leaders. Just take the risk and go for it."

Finlay suggested that some of the politicians - "Michael Noonan, Richard Burton, Heather Humphres - I think they haven't set the world on fire" - needs to be replaced, and when asked about the potential new blood, he recommended "People like Regina Doherty, I know Paul Keogh very well... [...] And I'd support the likes of Damien English, [...] and Simon Harris."

Labour TD Willie Penrose says that Joan Burton isn't considering entering government just to try to retain the party leadership, were Labour to agree to a deal to re-enter government Joan Burton could avoid a leadership election.

However, Deputy Penrose said that to think that was her only reason for considering the move is too simplistic.

And any decision on entering a coalition would have to be voted on by the Labour party membership:

 

Live from @ElectionNT