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Burton defends Government record
28 Feb 2015 23:11
Labour leader Joan Burton has defended the party's record in Government and appealed to voters to give her party a second term in government to build "a decade of opportunity".
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Speaking at her party's national conference in Killarney, she hit out at the Opposition as a coalition of chaos in her first party address as Labour leader.
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With a general election due before April 2016, she highlighted issues central to Labour policy including gay marriage, paternity leave, child benefit and pre-school care.
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She said the economy is recovering, and more and more people are finding employment.
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However, Ms Burton also said there were "progress deniers".
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Some of them, she said, "hijacked peaceful protests" to make their points and she said in a fair society that was "bullying".
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She told the conference that the Labour Party wants to deliver full employment, fair taxation and affordable homes.
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On the upcoming same-sex marriage referendum, she said the party was fighting "to ensure equality of love before the law". "We're fighting for more than just two people in a loving relationship. We're fighting for everybody who loves them in turn." She said the Government would increase child benefit again in the next Budget.
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"By the end of this year, we'll set out the steps that will enable us to introduce two weeks' paid paternity leave. "Mums and dads will also be able to bring their young children to the doctor for free. "Because this year, we'll deliver another of our core commitments - to provide free GP care for children under six." She said that childcare is a concern for families and that the Government was increasing access to subsidised childcare and afterschool places. "I want to ensure that before they start primary school, every child has a right to two years of free pre-school.
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"This will be a key plank of our election platform."
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