MEP NESSA CHILDERS has resigned from the Labour party and said she will run in the next European elections as an independent candidate.
In a letter to Labour leader Eamon Gilmore, Childers said she had been “vilified” within the party for trying to advocate an alternative path for Labour and said the party was pursuing “never-ending, pointless austerity for austerity’s sake”.
Childers had already resigned from the parliamentary Labour party – which is made up of TDs, Senators and MEPs – in April but was still a Labour member. She follows the lead of TDs Patrick Nulty and Colm Keaveney who have also resigned from the party.
“While I have remained constant in my views, the Labour leadership has drifted away from a progressive policy approach,” Childers wrote.
My attitude is vilified as disloyal or opportunistic when, in fact, I am defending and promoting the party’s core values.
She cited the example of how she had opposed the appointment of Kevin Cardiff, the former Secretary General of the Department of Finance, to the EU Court of Auditors following controversy about his abilities, but said she felt “abandoned” by the party on the issue.
In the letter, she acknowledged that Labour ministers had done some good work, but criticised the party for its focus on the politics of austerity ahead of the more progressive politics that members expected from the party.
[The government is following a] policy of cutting services like health, education and social protection while bankers, big corporates and the wealthy are allowed dodge their share of the burden.
This is a profoundly immoral way to run our country.
Childers said she would fight for a progressive alternative to austerity in the European Parliament and said she will run as an independent candidate within the European and Socialists Group in next year’s elections. she said she does not yet know which constituency she will run in because of the changes to constituency boundaries.
Childers was originally a councillor for the Green Party on Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council in Dublin but rejoined the Labour party in 2008.
The European Parliament elections will be held between 22 and 25 May 2014.