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'I was never a government TD' - Patrick Nulty on 'electoral con-job' claims

The now independent TD has defended his decision to resign from the Labour Party in the wake of claims he committed “an electoral con-job” on the people of Dublin West.

Nulty on his election in October 2011 with Minister Joan Burton and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore
Nulty on his election in October 2011 with Minister Joan Burton and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

PATRICK NULTY HAS defended his decision to resign from the Labour Party and become an independent TD in the wake of criticism from the Fianna Fáil councillor who he beat into second in a by-election two years ago.

Nulty resigned his party membership earlier today, almost two years after he voted against the Budget and lost the Labour parliamentary party whip just 40 days after winning the Dublin West by-election as a Labour Party candidate.

“I’ve always advocated that the Labour Party should not have entered coalition with Fine Gael and was always crystal clear on that.

“So I was never a government TD,” Nulty told TheJournal.ie today, denying that he was aware of the austerity budget to come when he was elected in October 2011.

Today he has faced accusations that he “fraudulently obtained a mandate from the people of Dublin West” by Fianna Fáil’s David McGuinness who lost out in the by-election to fill the seat vacated by the death of Brian Lenihan in 2011.

“There are many people in Dublin West who genuinely feel that they were the victims of an electoral con-job by Patrick Nulty,” McGuinness said, calling on Nulty to consider his position as TD.

Nulty insisted that he has received a positive response to his decision to resign from the party completely, saying: “The response I’ve received from constituents rights across Dublin West this morning has been one of support…

“…so I think it kind of displays the old arrogance of Fianna Fáil that they purport to speak for the people. They don’t do that any more.”

He further slammed Fianna Fáil, saying: “I’ve no idea whether when Fianna Fáil makes a contribution to political debate whether they are genuine.”

‘ I will always vote with the Labour Party’

Comments Nulty made on RTÉ’s Drivetime programme in September 2011, prior to being elected, have also been raised today with Nulty having told the programme at the time: “I will always vote with the Labour Party.”

He said today that those who had voted for Labour in the general election “had a legitimate expectation that Labour ministers at Cabinet would hold the line” on issues such as protection of social welfare, health and education services.

“Unfortunately, very quickly, when it came to the crunch in Budget negotiations, the Labour Party ministers capitulated to Fine Gael on those issues, abandoned the core policy objectives that they were elected on,” he said.

He insisted that he would not resign as a TD saying that he had a “job of work to do”. Nulty intends to run as an independent in the next general election and added that he has no plans to formally join the Dáil Technical Group.

“I think the job of a TD as well as trying to shape and frame legislation is to speak out very clearly on what you feel are the solutions to the problems facing the country,” he added.

Wicklow councillors Tom Fortune and Barry Nevin also resigned from the Labour Party today, saying in a joint statement that they no longer believed the party holds “compatible values”.

Read: Patrick Nulty resigns as Labour Party member

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Hugh O'Connell

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