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'The government treats people like gobshites' - John Wilson

The former garda welcomed Eamon Gilmore’s resignation as Labour leader, describing him as “arrogant”.

wilson and ming2 Wilson and Flanagan Source: Órla Ryan/TheJournal.ie

GARDA WHISTLEBLOWER JOHN Wilson has slammed the government, saying it treats Irish people “like gobshites”.

Wilson said the Cabinet was full of “arrogant” people who “look after their own little world”.

He welcomed Eamon Gilmore’s announcement yesterday that he would be resigning as leader of the Labour party, after a disastrous local election that saw the junior coalition party poll at around seven per cent nationally.

Wilson said that members of the Fine Gael Labour coalition represented “some of the most arrogant individuals that have ever been in any government in this country”. He said his comments were directed at Gilmore and other ministers such as Ruairi Quinn, Phil Hogan and former justice minister Alan Shatter who resigned earlier this month.

Shatter’s demise was sealed by the Guerin Report into corruption in an Garda Síochána, some of which was exposed by Wilson.

The former garda made the comments while at the Midlands North West count centre in Castlebar, Co Mayo yesterday. He was there to support Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan.

Wilson is Flanagan’s first substitute should he be unable to serve his full term in Brussels, however Flanagan admitted such an outcome was unlikely.

The Roscommon TD was elected on the second count with 129,561 votes. The quota was 129,290 votes. Counting in the constituency will resume this morning, with six candidates still in contention for the three remaining seats.

Last month, he told the Dáil that he and Wilson were followed by an unmarked Garda car when visiting the headquarters of the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission in Dublin to expose further allegations of corruption within the force.

‘Are you watching Ruari Quinn?’

Wilson said it was “insulting” that education minister Ruairi Quinn dismissed Flanagan’s success as a “protest vote”, saying he was a serious candidate who had been elected at local, national and now European level.

When Flanagan was elected, he, Wilson and others chanted: “Are you watching Ruari Quinn?”

Wilson said voters have turned their backs on the government because they have ignored the needs of the people.

Mainstream parties have forgotten about their grassroots, basically. They have forgotten about the basic needs of the people. The way to judge any government – not just this junta – is the way it treats the underprivileged and the needy in society. This government is solely a government for the economy. They have forgotten about society.

“Really and truly, Labour have been decimated – but that’s nothing unusual. The junior party in any coalition suffers the brunt of the people’s anger.”

He said that one of the main reasons the government was being punished was recent controversies surrounding people with chronic illnesses losing their discretionary medical cards and being “forced to beg for their legal entitlements”.

‘Lucky to be alive’

Wilson had intended to run as an independent candidate in the local election in the Cavan-Belturbet area but had to drop out due to ill health.

He was diagnosed with bowel cancer earlier this year, but said he was feeling well after an operation successfully removed the growth.

I’m very, very lucky to be alive. The opertion was successful. Cancer to me was always going to happen to somebody else. It was never going to happen to me. I’m feeling very, very well, thank God. I’m so honoured that Luke Flanagan picked me as a first reserve.

Wilson wasn’t the only one in Castlebar reacting to Gilmore’s resignation.

Sinn Féin’s finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said that Labour needed more than a change of leadership.

“Nobody takes pleasure in somebody else’s demise, but if the Labour party really listen to the electorate what they need to do is something more radical than just change their party leader. They need a fundamental change in how Labour are behaving in government.

The people are appalled that the Labour party have been a crutch to Fine Gael to implement their austerity policy. People can’t afford to wait until a General Election. They want change and they want it now.

 

Sitting Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins said Gilmore wasn’t the problem within Labour, but noted that the Tánaiste had made the wrong choice of portfolio in Foreign Affairs as it wasn’t “appropriate” for the country’s deputy leader “to be out of the country so much”.

Higgins suggested that Gilmore take an economic portfolio in the upcoming government reshuffle.

“I have nothing but the height of praise for Labour. I’ve seen Labour in governments before where they lost their nerve … The minority party in government inevitably and invariably takes the hit.

“I hope they can regroup because they’ve been very good partners in government, very responsible. Minister by minister they’ve been absolutely superb,” he added.

Higgins is certain to lose his European seat when the Midlands North West count resumes today.

The other candidates still in the running include Sinn Féin’s Matt Carthy, Mairead McGuinness of Fine Gael, independent Marian Harkin, Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher and Thomas Byrne, both of Fianna Fáil.

Election 2014 Liveblog: European and local results (plus Gilmore resigns) as it happens

Read: Eamon Gilmore resigns as Labour Party leader

Related: Ming: No, I won’t send areplacement to Brussels

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Órla Ryan

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