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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 24 September, 2019
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This TD voted against Labour... but he's staying in the party

Michael McNamara won’t lose the party whip.

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LABOUR TD MICHAEL McNamara voted against the government on his own bill to allow gardaí and the defence forces to hold formal negotiations on pay and conditions.

However, despite defying the whip, the Clare deputy remains in the Labour parliamentary party.

The bill, which would also have allowed gardaí to strike, was defeated by 69-24 votes. It was not supported by the Fine Gael-Labour coalition.

McNamara won’t be expelled from the parliamentary party, however, with Labour whip Emmet Stagg explaining: “It was his own bill and he can’t be expected to vote against it. You have to give members a bit of leeway in these circumstances.

It’s an unusual situation where the government doesn’t support one of its backbencher’s bills so you have to give a bit of leeway.

Meanwhile, a Labour spokesperson said the party would be “a bit more lenient in this instance”.

McNamara told Newstalk he’s still a member of Labour and supports the party.

The Clare TD said that, as he introduced the bill and had called on others to support it, he felt he’d “no alternative but to vote for my own bill”.

mcnamara no vote Source: Oireachtas.ie

He said he’s “fully confident that everything in this bill will be introduced by 2020 at the latest” as Ireland has been found by the social rights committee to be in breach of the rights of gardaí.

McNamara said the party whip is “there for a reason”, but added: “There’s an obsession with reducing everything to ‘are they voting with the whip or are they voting against the whip’.”

I’m not gone anywhere, I stand fully square behind the Labour party.

He did admit to being “frustrated” his colleagues didn’t support the bill.

- additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell 

Read: Will Anne Ferris be allowed to rejoin Labour?

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Órla Ryan

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