A THIRD LABOUR Party councillor in three days resigned from the party earlier today, citing the disconnect between the leadership and grassroots members.
Wicklow County Council chairman, Jimmy O’Shaughnessy, said that the Budget announced earlier this month was “the last straw for me”.
“People at the top of the Labour Party have lost their way,” O’Shaugnessy told TheJournal.ie this afternoon. “People on the ground have been the hardest hit.”
“If you take what has gone on with Pat Rabbitte, Ruairí Quinn, Brendan Howlin and Eamon Gilmore, they don’t represent the Labour Party that I represent.”
He said the four Cabinet ministers have “lost touch with reality and lost touch with the people” adding: “It would seem the Howlin, Gilmore, Rabbitte and Quinn wanted the trip and the power and all of that.”
O’Shaugnessy, who has been a councillor for two decades, also criticised measures announced in the Budget two weeks ago, particularly the decision to raise DIRT tax to 41 per cent.
“You take the bereavement grant cut and the 41 per cent DIRT tax. People who want to save in this country, elderly people who want to save a few bob for their funeral, they put they’re savings in and then they’re taxed 41 per cent.”
He also hit out at the cut to jobseekers’ allowance for those under the age of 26, saying that €100 a week is not enough for young jobseekers to pursue training opportunities.
The now independent councillor added: “It would have been better if the Minister had said: ‘Here’s €5,000, emigrate, we don’t have anything at the moment’. The most educated people we have are leaving our country day-in day-out.”
O’Shaugnesssy is the third Labour representative on Wicklow County Council to quit the party following the departures of Tom Fortune and Barry Nevin in June.
First published 12:34.
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