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'Pinning the flesh back together is painful' - Eamon Gilmore's, um, graphic take on austerity

The Tánaiste has said that while Labour “can’t walk away from our mistakes”, the party’s achievements must be celebrated.

Eamon Gilmore (File photo)
Eamon Gilmore (File photo)
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland
“IT HAS NOT been easy. Cauterising the wound, and pinning the flesh back together is painful. But we have and we are putting an end to austerity.”

In one of his last speeches as the leader of the Labour Party, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has discussed the government’s approach to ending austerity.

Gilmore said that while Labour “can’t walk away from our mistakes”, the party’s achievements must also be celebrated.

“Unemployment has fallen for 24 consecutive months. The fundamental, existential crisis that confronted this state in 2011 has been dealt with and stability has been restored, and the next two budgets should be easier.

There are plenty of people now who are trying to rewrite history – who are trying to pretend that somehow there were easy options in the last three years. That we could have defaulted on our debt, or told the Troika to go home.

“The fundamental reality is that this state was facing financial meltdown, and had we allowed it to happen, there the consequences would have been felt most, by those who have least.”

Gilmore said that “no one will ever stand up” for Labour, unless the party stands up for itself.

He stressed that Sinn Féin is not a viable alternative to his party, criticising its ”fantasy economics” and “bullying tactics”.

Gilmore stepped down as Labour leader after its dismal showing of about 7% in last month’s elections, in which Sinn Féin and independents made major gains.

‘Agents of change’

He made the comments speaking at the Tom Johnson Summer School yesterday. In his speech he thanked the party and Labour Youth for their support and hard work during the seven years he was leader.

We act when others just talk. We take responsibility in the public interest where others just seize political opportunity in their party’s own self-interest. We seek solutions when others shout slogans. We are the agents of change.

Gilmore noted that while in government his party introduced a national literacy strategy, the JobBridge internship scheme and added: “We have brought about the most significant reforms to our welfare and training services for decades.”

Read: Eamon Gilmore resigns as Labour Party leader

Read: Will Eamon Gilmore move from Foreign Affairs? ‘It’s a matter for himself’ says Ferris

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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