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Joan Burton and Eamon Gilmore (File photo) Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Eamon Gilmore: 'No, my leadership is not up for debate'

The Tánaiste was in bullish mood as he launched the Labour party election campaign in Dublin today.

TÁNAISTE EAMON GILMORE said today that his leadership is not up for debate as he launched the Labour party election campaign in Dublin.

Gilmore was speaking towards the end of a week which began with one of Labour’s MEP’s, Phil Prendergast, calling on him to resign as leader of the party.

He was asked if his leadership would be debated in the aftermath of the local and European elections if Labour does badly, but he insisted: “My leadership is not up for debate, or anything.”

Gilmore said that all of the party’s 190 candidates are standing to win in the local elections and said that he never makes predictions in advance as to how many seats Labour will win.

In a bullish speech to assembled councillors, local election candidates and other party members, Gilmore said that the property bubble and the financial crisis had its origins in the planning decisions on local councils “when the wrong people were elected”.

He said he was “enormously proud” that no Labour member had ever been found to be “in the pocket” of corrupt property developers.

Gilmore also said that “the politics of fear and hate” are manifesting themselves in a number of ways across Europe presently, including in Tallaght this week where Labour candidate Martina Genockey was intimidated by locals.

He called on those targeting Labour in their election campaigns and on posters, such as People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd-Barret and Socialist Party MEP Paul Murphy, to “disassociate themselves” from those who abused Genockey.

Also speaking at the launch, the Labour deputy leader Joan Burton said that the party had “planted the roots for devastated communities to recover.”

“Labour is the party of work, and Labour is helping to get Ireland working again,” she said.

There was a strong endorsement for the candidacy of European Parliament president Martin Schulz for the presidency of the European Commission.

Schulz, who was in Dublin earlier this week, was described as a “friend of Ireland” who is “on our side” when it comes to negotiations on retroactive recapitalisation of Ireland’s banks.

Gilmore said that it would be “enormously helpful” to elect Schulz as he believes in Ireland’s case for a bank debt deal.

Earlier Burton said: ”As a country we have unfinished business with EU and ECB in that regard. We have every intention of finishing it.”

VIDEO: Labour candidate confronted in Dublin, “thuggery and intimidation” says Joan Burton

Read: Phil Prendergast will canvass with Gilmore – even though she doesn’t want him to lead Labour

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