Friday 30 September 2016

Old gated battlezone may pay dividends for Labour

Published 30/01/2016 | 02:30

Labour’s Kevin Humphreys speaks to Helen Nicholson, with her dog Harper, as he canvasses in Dartmouth Square in Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers
Labour’s Kevin Humphreys speaks to Helen Nicholson, with her dog Harper, as he canvasses in Dartmouth Square in Dublin. Photo: Damien Eagers

Ruairi Quinn is in no doubt about what has been the most corrosive and damaging element for the Labour Party.

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"It's the constant sniping of Trotskyists of different hues and colours who have never, ever wanted to be in Government," he says.

Asked about a possible annihilation of Labour, Quinn snorted that it is 'certain commentators' who want to see the Labour party annihilated... and particularly "people on the left of the party".

He puts forward a startling thesis that: "Like the Communists in the old days, you had to get rid of the Social Fascists first, which is what they called the Social Democratic party in Germany. Get rid of the Social Fascists first and then we'll have the revolution.

"This is what the Trotskyists currently in Leinster House have as their thesis... that's their argument.

"But you're playing with people's lives," he warns.

Quinn has hit the canvass trail with son Oisin, the former Dublin Lord Mayor, to support Minister of State Kevin Humphreys. With Eoghan Murphy and Lucinda Creighton widely predicted to take the first two of the Dublin Bay South three-seater, it is likely to be a dogfight between Humphreys and Chris Andrews of Sinn Féin for the third.

"People understand. We don't have to explain. They know Labour is in a tough fight. I think we're getting support and recognition for work done," Humphreys says.

He wants to be re-elected and would like another post, having enjoyed the excitement and impact of the Department of Social Protection in improving people's lives.

"The one thing I hate about the boom we went through was how so many people were left behind," he said.

Asked if he believes his seat is in trouble, he is philosophical. He has been out on the doorsteps since last January. But he has also changed careers four times and knows there is more to life than politics.

If he doesn't get in, he will become an entrepreneur, he reveals.

Sinn Féin is a prospect that alarms the well-heeled voters on the elegantly Victorian Dartmouth Square in Ranelagh - which might not be considered a traditional Labour stronghold - but for this election, it seems it might just become one.

Everybody is universally receptive.

Resident Helen Nicholson, on her way to walk her dog Harper in Dartmouth Square, stops and when Humphreys asks for her vote, she simply says: "Okay."

A lot of the support here dates back to the notorious row with businessman Noel O'Gara who bought the gated square in 2006 for €10,000 from its English owner and threatened to turn it into a multi-storey carpark.

Labour councillors were instrumental in obtaining a Compulsory Purchase Order and getting the park back for the residents - who have not forgotten.

A wealthy businessman gives the group a supportive toot from his Jag. A fervent Labour supporter, confirms the former Education Minister - explaining that the man's father was illiterate and so he has always respected the work done by the party on education.

Irish Independent

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