Labour has promised to deliver a job for everyone who wants one by 2018 and increases in the minimum wage and pension.

The party launched its election manifesto this morning, promising a referendum on repealing the Eighth Amendment if in government after the election.

It promises to raise the minimum wage to €11.30 and a hike in the pension to €260.

Free GP care for all, smaller class sizes, extending parental leave and capping childcare costs are also in its plans.

The party had already flagged many of its proposals, including the abolition of USC for those earning up to €72,000.

Labour said its manifesto is "based on an optimistic view of the future" and has "continued investment in education as its heart".

Tánaiste Joan Burton also stated that she expects Enda Kenny to clarify his position on serving as Taoiseach in coalition government with Fianna Fáil.

Minister Brendan Howlin took aim at the competition, claiming that Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin is "peddling a fairy story" and that Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams does not want to lead a government, only "throw stones" from opposition.

Labour candidate for Dublin Central Joe Costello started the launch by welcoming people to the new DIT Grangegorman campus in his constituency.

Minister for the Environment and Labour Director of Elections Alan Kelly said the manifesto is "all about the future".

Dublin North West candidate John Lyons said that, having been elected in February 2011, it has been a privilege to represent his community, adding that he is "genuinely extremely proud of the Labour Party's achievements in government".

Minister Kelly said that we cannot take our recovery for granted as the international economic outlook is extremely uncertain. 

"Now is not the time to take a risk. Now is not the time to let the others play with our hard fought for recovery."

Minister Howlin said: "This is a social democratic manifesto for a social democratic party. It's a manifesto that will bring balance to government."

He said that it is a "prudent package" and it "divides the resources available on a 3:1 basis - three euros of public spending for every euro of tax reductions."

Mr Howlin added: "We in Labour are under attack in this election. Under attack for standing by our country in our hour of need. Under attack from opportunists who care little for their country.

"Our opponents made no contribution to our economy. They oppose each move that we did. Fianna Fáil left a plan behind them with more holes than a Swiss cheese. 

"Sinn Féin stand alone as Ireland's austerity party. In contrast we alongside Fine Gael put Ireland back on track."

"Our job isn't done. Yes we've come a long way but now isn't the time to take risks. Micheál Martin can't lead government.

"Micheál is peddling a fairy story about government. When the going got tough for the last government, he left it."  

"He defends that government now - he ran away from it then. Brian Lenihan's biggest rival then, his best friend now." 

Attacking Sinn Féin, he said "Gerry Adams doesn't want to lead the government. He wants to be in opposition to throw stones at the next government.

"Grow the party, that's the only priority. Adams and Martin are scrapping to lead the opposition. Please don't be fooled - it is nothing more."


By Conor McMorrow, RTÉ Political Staff