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Wednesday 30 July 2014

Gilmore backs rebel MEP after 'frank discussion'

Niall O'Connor

Published 30/04/2014|02:30

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Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore pictured with Labour MEP candidates, Phil Prendergast, right and Lorraine Higgins

LABOUR leader Eamon Gilmore has vowed to publicly canvass with Phil Prendergast after holding "very frank discussions" with the rebel MEP.

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Mr Gilmore stood side-by-side with the Ireland South candidate at a Labour event last night – just three days after she humiliated her leader by calling on him to resign.

It emerged that Ms Prendergast requested a private meeting with Mr Gilmore during which robust exchanges took place.

But despite claiming that their differences had been dealt with, the former senator last night insisted she is standing by her staunch criticism of Mr Gilmore.

Senior Labour figures believe the Tanaiste now has just four weeks to save his job, while several other party sources insist his leadership will be challenged if Labour receives a drubbing in next month's elections.

Mr Gilmore now faces the extraordinary scenario of canvassing for the person who described his leadership as being "in a state of chronic inability".

"Of course (I will canvass). As far as I'm concerned, the Labour Party selects a candidate.

"I stand with that candidate full square right up until polling day. We had a very frank discussion."

Speaking before the event, Ms Prendergast said she and Mr Gilmore shook hands after their meeting.

"I met Eamon Gilmore this evening in the Tanaiste's office, she said."

"We discussed and we shared our views, he already knew my views because of the announcement I made on Sunday.

"We had a fairly frank discussion. The focus for me from here on me and from him is getting our candidate selected, getting myself elected to Ireland South.

"We are putting what happened behind us, we shook on that and we had a cordial parting," she added.

ROUGH

However asked about her call for Mr Gilmore to be replaced, made in Monday's Irish Independent, Ms Prendergast replied:

"I stand by what I said and I'm moving on now."

Mr Gilmore and Ms Prendergast were speaking at a reception to welcome Labour's candidate for the European Commission to Dublin.

Martin Schultz, the President of the European Parliament, said that Irish people have endured a "rough period".

"Generation after generation you saw your young depart to far-away-lands, than the trend was reversed in a spectacular boom, only to see recession hit hard," he told Labour members.

"It has been a rough period. There have been many sacrifices," he added.

Irish Independent

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