EAMON GILMORE HAS announced his resignation as leader of the Labour Party, following his party’s disastrous performance in the local election.
Gilmore told reporters in Dublin this afternoon that he intends to stand down with immediate effect from 4 July. He said he made the decision last night, spoke with his staff this morning and told the General Secretary at around 10.30am.
The announcement follows news earlier today that Gilmore would face two no-confidence motions in the coming weeks, to be tabled by both the party’s central council and the parliamentary party.
It comes after Labour’s humiliating defeat in the local elections, with the party losing seats in councils all across the country while Sinn Féin, independents and more left-wing candidates gained ground.
Speaking today, Gilmore said:
I’ve had the honour and privilege of leading Labour for 7 years. I asked the party to take on the role of government in worst crisis ever. I did so because I believed that we had a responsibility. It was a course that carried a high political risk and has led to election results.
The party has seen support slip from 14 per cent in 2009’s elections to just over half that this time around and looks set to take just 60 seats in the locals.
He said Labour must now find a new course.
“We must hear, heed and act on the clear message we heard on Friday, “he said. “I believe that the work of renewing the party is best done under new leadership.”
I take responsibility for what happened on Friday. This party needs renewal. I think everyone has a sense of the scale of the job.
Gilmore said he still intends to seek re-election in Dún Laoghaire at the next general election and will remain as Tánaiste.
“I never considered withdrawing from government. That would have be an iresponsible thing to do. We got a message and we have to respond to that. We have to regroup, renew and rebuild.