Saturday 21 October 2017

Eamon Gilmore 'not surprised' by Patrick Nulty resignation

Fiach Kelly, Political Correspondent

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore says he is "not surprised" at rebel TD Patrick Nulty's decision to resign from the Labour Party.

He also took a sideswipe at Mr Nulty, by praising the "courage" of his other backbenchers.

Mr Nulty, a TD for Dublin West, confirmed he has left the Labour Party this morning.

He had previously resigned the Labour whip in the Dail just weeks after winning the by-election caused by the death of the late Brian Lenihan in 2011.

He voted against Budget cuts but remained as a member of the wider Labour Party, and he announced today he has left the party entirely.

"This was difficult because I have been a member of the party for over a decade," Mr Nulty said. "However, it was necessary.

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore praised other backbenchers
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore praised other backbenchers
Dublin West TD Patrick Nulty said trust in the political system had been broken

“I no longer believe that membership of the party is of any assistance in advancing the political ideas which form the cornerstone of my value system. These ideas are social justice, equality and the creation of full employment with quality work in our society."

But Mr Gilmore said Mr Nulty "effectively resigned some time ago".

"He is effectively an opposition TD, even shortly after his election in the by-election," the Tanaiste said, adding that the party had tough work to do to fix the economy.

"The vast majority of Labour represenatives have the courage to see that through. I'm not surprised by his decision."

Mr Nulty also said the “leadership of the party, and in particular the cabinet ministers who have sacrificed core social democratic demands for their own personal political ambitions, have brought the entire political system into disrepute”.

As well as the Dublin West TD, two councillors announced their resignation from Labour.

Wicklow councillors Tom Fortune, who was a general election candidate, and Barry Nevin said they no longer believe “the party holds compatible values with us and we can no longer align ourselves with the party’s actions”.

They also criticised the leadership, saying there is an “unacceptable centralisation operating within the party that is antidemocratic in its nature”.

“The reasonable requests that we and three other councillors made over a number of months for meetings with the party leader and government ministers to discuss issues that we had real concerns about were repeatedly denied.

"As a result we have come to the conclusion that the party leadership are no longer interested in genuine dialogue and hearing the issues of public concern that public representatives needed to get answers to.”

They said the cuts in special needs assistants and disability allowances, also cited by Mr Nulty, were the “final straw”.

“We believe the Labour Party has lost touch with the people they promised to represent, they have reneged on these commitments.”

Regarding Mr Nulty, Mr Gilmore said: “He hasn’t supported the Labour Party in government for quite some time now. I’m not at all surprised by his decision.”

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