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"This government is hurting people" - Nessa Childers leaves Labour parliamentary party

“I entered politics to help people, and am now resigning from the parliamentary party because I no longer want to support a government that is actually hurting people.”

Nessa Childers
Nessa Childers
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

MEP NESSA CHILDERS has resigned from the parliamentary Labour party, saying she strongly disagrees with what the party has done in government.

In a strongly-worded statement, Childers said she “no longer want[s] to support a government that is actually hurting people”.

“My dissatisfaction with the party in government has been known for some time; however recent statements from the Labour Ministers have dismayed me,” she said. “They continue to insist that because of the dire economic situation there is no alternative to current government policies.”

Childers had publicly disagreed with the Labour party on a number of issues, including social welfare cuts.

The MEP for Leinster said she will now join fellow Labour members in opposition to campaign for Labour policies.

“The government is implementing harmful conservative policies,” she said. She criticised the government for not acknowledging the impact of the economic crisis on people on low incomes.

She also suggested that a breakaway party could be formed to “take up the ideas and values of Labour”.

“The [Labour] party leadership’s strategy of attacking people who are loyal to the party’s stated policies, coupled with their objection to a special party conference and objection to renegotiating the Programme for Government signals that they are completely cut off from the concerns of the party members and Labour party ideals and values,” she said, adding:

Senior members of the party have led the PLP to an impasse. How long will TDs and Senators continue along this path, before they reach the point of no return.

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The parliamentary party is made up of Labour’s TDs, Senators and MEPs. Childers can still remain an ordinary member of the party but will no longer attend parliamentary party meetings. She joins other TDs Patrick Nulty, Colm Keaveney, Róisin Shortall and Tommy Broughan who were all elected as Labour TDs but are now outside of the parliamentary party.

In an opinion piece for TheJournal.ie last year, Childers said Labour needed to focus on policies based on core Labour values or else pull out of the coalition.

Labour’s popularity has decreased significantly since entering government with Fine Gael in 2011, falling to just 9 per cent in a recent opinion poll. The party’s candidate in the Meath by-election last week received 4.5 per cent of first preference votes, with leader Eamon Gilmore said the result would be cause for reflection for the party.

Read: Childers calls for Irish PR firms to declare tobacco clients >

Read: ‘David vs Goliath’ dispute over Labour chairmanship is over says Keaveney >

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