With thanks to Irish Republican News for the following report:
Eamon Gilmore has resigned as Labour party leader and as the Tanaiste
(Deputy Prime Minister) of the 26 County state.
The announcement followed a meeting between Mr Gilmore and senior and
junior party Ministers in Dublin this afternoon to assess Labour’s
standing in the wake of the disastrous election results.
Speaking to a press conference at Iveagh House, he said he had
“agonised” over the decision, but would remain as a member of the Dail.
He said he wanted his successor to take over from him before the end of
the current parliamentary term. He described his leadership of the
party “an honour and a privilege”, but that it had witnessed the worst
economic cirsis in the history of the state.
He said Labour had had a “duty to put the country first” in its
policies, but that it had now “paid the price”. He deeply regretted the
defeat of “outstanding candidates” but that there would now be “a
renewal” and a “new phase”.
He said there was a need to heed the “clear message” from voters, but
said his party had also helped to find “real solutions” to the
country’s problems. “Where he have had successes we must build on
them,” he said.
A motion of no-confidence motion in his leadership, signed by eight
backbench Labour TDs, was due to be debated at the weekly meeting of
the parliamentary party this Wednesday. But the Dun Laoghaire TD said
he took the decision to resign before the motion of non-confidence was
submitted, and that he will continue to work with the party leadership
from the backbenches.
Dublin Labour TD Sean Kenny said Gilmore had become a “lightning rod”
for voters’ unhappiness. Labour Senator John Whelan said the leadership
had become “arrogant” but that Gilmore’s resignation had saved the
party some upheaval. However, he expressed sadness that it had come
too late for many of the party’s candidates.
LABOUR FAILURE PROPELS LEFT
Meanwhile, amid Labour’s demise, election successes have continued for
Sinn Fein and other left-wing parties and independents.
Liadh ni Riada and Matt Carthy are set to take an incredible second and
third seat for Sinn Fein in the European parliament after both fell just
short of a quota in the first count, in the South and Midlands-North-West
Speaking from the European election count centre in Cork this morning,
Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said voters had rejected the ‘consensus for
cuts’ represented by Labour, Fine Gael, and Fianna Fail.
He called for a change in political direction or a general election.
“The government has been sent a very clear message. They do not have
public support for the damaging policies they are implementing,” he
“The voters have called time on this government. They should change
political direction or call a General Election.”
A leader of the former Democratic Left before that party’s merger with
Labour, Mr Gilmore began his political career in the 1980s with the
hardline socialist Workers’ Party, while it still had links to the
Official IRA. His political trajectory turned increasingly right-wing,
until he eventually became an advocate of IMF austerity policies and a
swingingly right-wing Programme for Government with Fine Gael’s Enda
Kenny in 2011.
As Minister for Foreign Affairs, he also adopted a strongly pro-British
and royalist approach to peace efforts, controversially waving regally
at onlookers from a royal carriage during the recent state visit to
London by 26 County President Michael D. Higgins.
He also had faced questions over his political sincerity in recent
years. In 2012, a classified cable was revealed by ‘Wikileaks’ which
showed him admitting to US officials that he had successfully deceived
the Irish people by privately agreeing to hold a second referendum on
the Lisbon Treaty on EU integration, despite publicly saying the
In recent years, it was the growing austerity crisis over collapsing
standards of living, healthcare cuts, homelessness, suicides, and water
and household taxes which fueled a political revolution which saw his
party obliterated in the polls in recent days.
His resignation is certain to place a strain on the coalition government
as Labour seeks to elect a new leader, who will automatically take on
the role of Tanaiste. A planned government reshuffle is likely to be
postponed until a new Labour leader is named.
Source: Irish Republican News