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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 20 August, 2014

Labour senator: I’m tired of being bullied by Gilmore’s henchmen

John Whelan has said the party’s leadership has become out-of-touch with voters and arrogant.

Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

AS THE TÁNAISTE and Taoiseach prepare to meet today to discuss the fallout from Election 2014, a Labour Senator has said the party’s become out-of-touch with the electorate and “arrogant”.

John Whelan, who is based in Laois, told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland the party needed to change its entire culture of leadership if it wanted to ward off a “drubbing” in the next General Election.

“People say that changing the leadership will change nothing,” Whelan said.

Well doing nothing will change nothing either.

“This idea that Eamon Gilmore isn’t considering resigning. I don’t understand why he wouldn’t

Why would it not be on the agenda?

He said the party’s front-bench needed to, “stop looking down on people. Stop being arrogant.”

We are seen as out of touch and detached.

The Senator – a former journalist – took to Twitter this morning to defend his comments.

A similar sentiment was expressed yesterday by Clare Labour TD Michael McNamara, who said the entire front-bench should step down.

Their comments follow a massive slump in support for the party in the local and European elections.

Joan Burton, the Deputy Leader, made a lukewarm statement of confidence in Gilmore at the weekend.

Other senior figures, notably Education Minister Ruairí Quinn, said now was not the time for a change of leadership and that Gilmore should lead them into the next General Election.

Also speaking to RTÉ this morning, junior minister Kathleen Lynch said:

Eamon Gilmore is the leader of this party.

When asked whether she had confidence in him, the Minister of State said:

“Yes I do,” adding that the issue within Labour was “more fundamental” than just one person at the top.

“At this point the last thing we need is the sort of knee-jerk reaction we’re seeing,” Lynch said.

We have to sit down and ask ourselves the question – what are the people saying to us?

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