Sunday 21 December 2014

John Downing on today's Labour election: Eamon Gilmore's resignation adds formality to the Joan's top result

Published 04/07/2014 | 15:06

Eamon Gilmore

EAMON Gilmore’s announcement that he was formally standing down as Tanaiste gave some sense of formality to an outcome that was predicted weeks ago.

There is little news in saying that Joan Burton has won the Labour leadership by a street - with a margin of three-to-one.

There is only fractionally more news in reporting that Junior Transport Minister Alan Kelly has convincingly taken the deputy leadership.  Kelly’s clearcut win means he is odds on to take a full cabinet seat.

The fate of the defeated leadership candidate Junior Health Minister, Alex White, is less clear. He may - or he may not – make Cabinet.

For the rest we know that Joan Burton wants to stay on in the Department of Social Protection. That is a sensible decision – she does not need to add reading herself into a new department to all the other challenges she faces.

From this evening, the informal contacts between Joan Burton’s advisers and those of Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be upgraded to full negotiations.

It is expected the Taoiseach will sit down with his new Tanaiste for preliminary talks which will inform detailed negotiations between both sets of officials through the coming days.

There is a lot of hard bargaining ahead on the allocation of cabinet posts and a re-working of the Government’s aims and goals.

There is also the issue of who gets to be EU Commissioner. Smart money is still on Fine Gael’s Phil Hogan. 

Labour’s call for Eamon Gilmore to get the Commissioner's job is now seen as just part of an overall negotiating ploy on other concessions.

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