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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 21 February, 2019

Standing beside Eamon Gilmore, Phil Prendergast says she still wants him to resign

Labour was launching its local and European election manifestos in Dublin today.

Phil Prendergast (left) speaks about her leader Eamon Gilmore (centre) as fellow MEP Emer Costello looks on.
Phil Prendergast (left) speaks about her leader Eamon Gilmore (centre) as fellow MEP Emer Costello looks on.
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

IRELAND SOUTH MEP Phil Prendergast said she stands by what she said last month in calling for Eamon Gilmore to step down as Labour leader as the party launched its local and European election manifestos today.

Prendergast dramatically called for her party leader to step down last month likening him to the “elephant in the room” and saying: “The elephant is not only in the room, it’s cantering around the room breaking things.”

She later held a meeting with Gilmore after which she insisted that she stood by her views and would even be prepared to canvass with him though that has not and is unlikely to happen during the rest of the campaign.

At the campaign launch in Dublin today, Gilmore responded to a question about the matter by insisting all three of Labour’s European canddiate “have the full support of the party, including my support, in these elections”.

“If you look at the ballot paper in any of the three constituencies the outstanding candidates are the Labour candidates,” he said.

Asked for her view, Prendergast said: “I stand by what I said. I think it’s been a very difficult time… “

She said that having canvassed across her constituency in recent weeks and met disadvantaged people she would “hate to see that hard work not reflected in them (Labour candidates) getting elected tomorrow week”.

Asked if she would seek to orchestrate the removal of Gilmore as leader after the election on Friday week Prendergast said that she would be focussing on her work as an MEP if re-elected.

Speaking about the election and Labour’s chances, Gilmore claimed that the more he has travelled around the country and spoken to candidates the more convinced he has become that Labour’s message is getting across.

“I am more than happy to stand over the record of the Labour party since 2011,” he said, adding that the party had helping bring “the country back from the brink of bankruptcy” and that “we are on the cusp of a vibrant recovery”.

He claimed that councils which have a large contingent of Sinn Féin, ultra left-wing and independent candidates after the election will have “real problems in agreeing anything”.

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

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Hugh O'Connell

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