I'M EAMON TO BE TAOISEACH; 'Fine Gael Can Be Our Junior Partners'

Article excerpt

Byline: BRIAN HUTTON

DETERMINED Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has set his sights on being the next Taoiseach with Fine Gael as junior coalition partners, he has revealed.

On the final day of his party's annual conference, Mr Gilmore said there was an unprecedented hunger for change around the country.

Intending to transform Labour into the largest party in the Dail for the first time, he said the party would field candidates in every constituency for the next General Election.

The Labour leader said it was their plan to force Fianna Fail into Opposition and claimed he could lead a new coalition with Fine Gael as the junior partners.

He added: "I think there are going to be coalition governments.

"If the figures in a certain set of circumstances gave rise to the possibility of a Labour/Fine Gael Government then I believe we could negotiate a programme for government with Fine Gael."

Mr Gilmore said Fianna Fail turned a good export-led economy into a property bubble, by acting hand in glove with speculators, and needed to be ousted from power.

His party will also positively discriminate in favour of women candidates to boost female representatives in the next Dail, he said.

Last night, in his main address to the conference in Galway, Mr Gilmore called for an overhaul of the Constitution in time for the 100th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

The country lies broken and wounded by greed and needed to be rebuilt on new foundations, he told delegates who waved "Gilmore for Taoiseach" placards.

Mr Gilmore said Labour was offering Irish people the chance to make history by electing his party to lead the Government for the first time on a manifesto for change. …