Saturday 29 November 2014

Gilmore told to 'come home' and quit foreign affairs by party colleagues

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

Published 22/05/2014 | 02:30

Minister for Social Protection  Joan Burton, Emer Costello,  Labour MEP for Dublin, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore  TD and director of elections Lorraine Mulligan, also a candidate for Dublin West by-election at the official launch of  MEP Emer Costello’s European election campaign
Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, Emer Costello, Labour MEP for Dublin, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore TD and director of elections Lorraine Mulligan, also a candidate for Dublin West by-election at the official launch of MEP Emer Costello’s European election campaign
Emer Costello

LABOUR'S Dublin candidate for the European Parliament has said it is time for Eamon Gilmore to drop his foreign affairs portfolio and "come home".

The Labour leader looks almost certain to switch to an economic portfolio when Taoiseach Enda Kenny announces his cabinet reshuffle after the elections.

But Mr Gilmore's ministerial role, as well as his leadership, have both been brought into question on several occasions in this election campaign.

Chairman of the Labour parliamentary party, Kildare TD Jack Wall, said "without question" Mr Gilmore should leave Foreign Affairs.

His comments have now been echoed by Labour's Dublin candidate Emer Costello who yesterday called on Mr Gilmore to "come home".

"When the Labour Party went into Government, Ireland's reputation abroad was absolutely in tatters," she said, adding the reputation of Ireland had since been greatly enhanced across Europe and the world.

"The Tanaiste has achieved a large part of those objectives. From that point of view, I would like to see him come home, I would like to see him in an economic portfolio," she added.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny yesterday reiterated that a cabinet reshuffle was looming but that he was keeping details of this reshuffle "close to my chest".

"I've a lot of people who want to be ministers and who want to be in different positions.

Row

"It is constitutionality a matter for the Taoiseach, but this is a coalition government. I get on very well with the Tanaiste, we'll consider these matters later."

Meanwhile, a fresh row is brewing within the Coalition after both the Taoiseach and Tanaiste clashed on the Programme for Government.

Mr Kenny ruled out the prospect of the programme being renegotiated after the elections.

He said that while he was willing to sit down with senior Labour politicians to discuss the Coalition's progress, the programme itself must remain intact.

"Nobody will be renegotiating the programme for government," Mr Kenny said.

However, Mr Gilmore stated clearly on the campaign trail that the programme for government needs to be looked at again in order to "see what can be accelerated".

Irish Independent

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