Brendan Howlin has admitted his party made promises it couldn’t keep in the run-up to 2011 election.
On the Ivan Interview this evening, the Labour Party leader said he has spoken to thousands of people around the country in the years since – and the party has learned from its mistakes.
He said Labour is now the only party offering polices that it can deliver, even if the economy takes a hit in the coming years.
Labour has struggled gain momentum in the polls this campaign; however, Deputy Howlin took issue with Ivan comparing his party to Fianna Fáil which has taken the guts of nine years to recover from its own disastrous fall from grace.
“Fianna Fáil destroyed the economy,” he said. “Whatever blame we got, it was for recovering it as best we could.”
“People suffered terribly during this period and we have been listening and we hear what people say and we know the mistakes that we made.
“I have listened to thousands of people across the country on doors, in meetings within our own organisation – people who fell out with us.
“I think the thing that annoyed people the most is we did make promises in advance of the election that we were not able to fulfil.
“That is why I am so rigorous now and I am so annoyed at other parties going back to that sort of auction politics.”
He said the Labour budget is based on a “relatively conservative growth forecast.”
“If either the Brexit disaster went wrong at the end of the year – which is actually more likely under Johnson than not in my estimation – or we lost corporation tax because of some international change, that would take a jolt,” he said.
“That why I think it is absolute madness for Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Sinn Féin to reduce our tax base.
“We need to hold on to what is regarded by the OECD and everybody else as the most progressive tax system in the EU.”
Coalition of the left
He said he hopes left-wing parties can work together after the election to have a real say in the future of the country.
“I have said from the start, I would love to see a progressive alliance between ourselves and the Soc Dems and the Greens and others like the progressive independents to form a block and a policy platform that would require anybody else to talk to us rather than pick us off individually,” he said.
“I think we could change Ireland for the good; have a decent public service system in this country and solve the issues of housing, healthcare and childcare if we had that progressive alliance.”
You can listen back to the full interview here:
LISTEN: @labour leader Brendan Howlin joined Ivan in the Leaders Interviews series. They discussed healthcare, housing, carbon taxes and the party's hopes for #GE2020, among other things #VoiceOfTheVoterhttps://t.co/GIKeyftOsL pic.twitter.com/jXb89bQKPL
— IvanYatesNT (@IvanYatesNT) January 31, 2020