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Joan Burton has spoken about having Eamon Gilmore 'shot at dawn'

Gilmore has suggested he was thrown to the wolves by his former deputy upon stepping down as Labour leader in July 2014.

Image: Laura Hutton/

ONE OF THE more striking suggestions in Eamon Gilmore’s new book is that he was effectively ‘shot at dawn’ after stepping down as Labour party leader in July 2014.

In his new book Inside the Room: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Crisis Government, Gilmore describes how he was informed by his former deputy leader Joan Burton that he was to be excluded from cabinet and denied a European Commissioner post in a terse two-minute conversation at Leinster House following his resignation as leader.

Following the meeting, Gilmore bumped into a senior civil servant and said “I have just been court-martialled and I am to be shot at dawn”.

Gilmore had stepped down following Labour’s dismal performance at last year’s local elections. He is retiring from the Dáil before the next general election, slated for early next year.

Now, Joan Burton has played down suggestions that her denial of a cabinet position for Gilmore amounted to a stab in the back.

“What I would say about Eamon’s book is that it’s a very detailed demonstration of all the work that Labour has been doing in government in order to make things better for people,” she said.

The second thing I would say that is in terms of appointing and selecting a team, he points out himself that that was one of the most difficult and loneliest days of his own life as leader.
I’ve said before, I was very anxious to actually provide an opportunity to some of the intake of 2011, some of the newer people, some of the younger people. People like Ged Nash, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Ann Phelan, and in doing, as with Eamon, it was difficult to satisfy everybody.

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It has been speculated that Burton’s denial of her former leader amounted to a sort of retribution for his own denial of her for the Foreign Affairs position when the government came to power in 2011, a position he then took himself.

Speaking at the launch of ’1916 – Portraits and Lives’ at the Royal Irish Academy she said: ”I’d also like to say that I hope he (Gilmore) has a bestseller for himself in the context of his sterling contributions to politics and to the Labour party of the decades, but also because it should be a bestseller for a very good cause, as he said himself, for the Alzheimer’s Society.”

My job now is to focus obviously on the next general election to actually build the recovery for families and for individuals and communities right across Ireland and also, as Eamon sets out so clearly in the book, the very significant and important role that the Labour party, since we went into government, has brought to this government and to the turnaround and the recovery that we’re now beginning to experience.

“My job is to grow that so that it’s not just an economic recovery, it’s a social recovery as well,” she added.

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