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Labour Pains

Scapegoating, inevitable, the right thing to do - Everyone wants their say on Gilmore's resignation

Colleagues and opposition politicians alike have been reacting to the news, with most Labour TDs saying the party needs some new direction.

Sam Boal Sam Boal

THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT Eamon Gilmore is to resign as leader of the Labour Party has raised questions about the future of the party and the stability of the government.

Speaking to reporters today, Gilmore said he takes responsibility for the party’s devastating performance in the local elections and will remain in the position until July, when he will step down.

Since the announcement, politicians from all over the country have been responding to it, with his colleagues saying it was the right thing to do, while opposition members branded it as scapegoating.

Reacting to the news, the Taoiseach thanked him for his “outstanding service to the country” as Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and said he had been “courageous in making the collective decisions that have pulled Ireland back from the brink of economic collapse”.

“He is a man of integrity, courage and conviction,” Kenny said.

He has assured me that the Labour Party remains fully committed to providing stable government, and to the completion of our mandate to fix our public finances and to create jobs for our people. He has assured me that the Labour Party remains fully committed to providing stable government, and to the completion of our mandate to fix our public finances and to create jobs for our people.

A new plan

His party and Cabinet colleague Pat Rabbitte said Labour now needs to focus on the issues that people raised on the doorsteps, saying the have to “connect with people”.

“It is essentially a new plan for the remainder of the lifetime of the the term of this government for the next couple of years,” he said.

This view has been repeated by a number of Labour Party politicians since the news broke:

Labour TD Arthur Spring,  one of the party members who was planning to put forward a motion of no-confidence in Gilmore, said it was the right decision. Spring said that Gilmore has managed to renegotiate some of the troika agreement and that he is a “good man, a man of integrity and hard work” but “he wasn’t going to be the man to regenerate the party”.


Orla Ryan Orla Ryan

Meanwhile, as the counting continues in the European elections, Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins who has in the last half hour conceded the election, said the party leader is always the first to be singled out when a problem arises.

Former Labour Party member Nessa Childers described the move as “a form of scapegoating”.

I hear nothing about what it’s going to mean for the country and how it’s going to bring us out of the state we are in. I don’t know why they’ve decided to get rid of the leader for the sake of it. It can’t be business as usual in any sense and I don’t know what’s going in inside the Labour party any more.

Sinn Féin’s Gerry Adams agreed with her:

Colm Keaveney, former Labour TD, was less kind…


Following the announcement, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said people had voted for Labour in the general election to make sure that there was a “check on Fine Gael” and that measures would be fair. He said we will not move out of this crisis if we see the kind of “political meltdowns” experiences in the 80s.

Independent TD Mattie McGrath said the resignation was “inevitable” and “the best thing he could do for the country given his record”. However he said people “should be under no illusions that this is anything like a noble gesture” from Gilmore, commenting this afternoon that the Labour leader had “left scars on our society”.

“Here is a man who would have been quite content to inflict a deepening and a widening of brutal austerity measures on the Irish people only for the courage of the Irish people to tell him and Fine Gael that they have had enough and can stand no more.,” he said, adding that Gilmore’s party have betrayed their roots and the electorate.

Read: Eamon Gilmore resigns as Labour Party leader>

Read: Here’s how Labour will select their new leaders>

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