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'David vs Goliath' dispute over Labour chairmanship is over says Keaveney

The Labour chairman has been assured his position is safe following a meeting of the party’s executive board in Dublin today in the wake of his vote against the Budget last month.

Colm Keaveney speaking to the media at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin today.
Colm Keaveney speaking to the media at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin today.
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

LABOUR CHAIRMAN COLM Keaveney has said that the dispute over his chairmanship of the party in the wake of his vote against the Budget is over following a meeting of the party’s executive board today.

The party’s 14-member executive board met in Dublin today to consider a report from the party’s legal advisor into the issues raised by Keaveney being outside the parliamentary party following his vote against the Budget last month.

Keaveney said that at the meeting it was agreed that when and where discussions concentrate on parliamentary matters, the Galway East TD will absent himself from these discussions.

He said that beyond that he would continue to chair meetings and chair the party, he said.

“I respect that, I am not a member of parliamentary party currently and that’s because I’ve lost the whip for voting against the Social Welfare Bill and I can understand the rationale for that,” Keaveney told TheJournal.ie this evening.

Joan Burton at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin today. Pic: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

“The important thing for grassroots Labour today is that the perception of a dispute or a disagreement between parties involved in this process is now finished and there is no distraction in fulfilling the mandate of the chairmanship of the party.”

Keaveney said that the dispute was now over which allowed the party the opportunity to focus “on what matters”. He described the meeting of the executive board today as “cordial, workmanlike, and very focussed as ever”.

He said that he genuinely felt that the doubts over his position in recent weeks, with speculation that the Labour leadership may try to oust him, had led to a “David versus Goliath situation”.

Keaveney continued: “It was was major battle, I never doubted that my position was correct but I suppose when you’re dealing with people… you’re essentially taking on the State. It’s the deputy prime minister of the country [Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore].

“There are a lot of unknowns in that, it’s not a fair battle.”

Previously: Keaveney: I won’t be bullied into stepping down as Labour chair

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Hugh O'Connell

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