Saturday 27 December 2014

Senator John Whelan calls on Eamon Gilmore to consider his position

Published 26/05/2014 | 08:58

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore
Eamon Gilmore: under pressure. Photo: Collins
Taoiseach, Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Minister for Transport, Tourism at the launch of The Gathering Ireland 2013 In St Patricks Hall, Dublin Castle on Friday. Picture By David Conachy. 11/5/2012
Labour Senator John Whelan Picture; GERRY MOONEY.

Labour need to stop “being arrogant” and “looking down on people” to avoid a meltdown in the General Election.

Speaking this morning, Senator John Whelan also called leader Eamon Gilmore to consider his position.

Speaking to RTE’s Morning Ireland programme, the senator said he can’t understand why Mr Gilmore wouldn’t consider his position as leader of the junior coalition partners.

“It’s not just about Eamon Gilmore, people will say changing the leader will change nothing.

“Well doing nothing will change nothing either,” he said.

“I can’t understand why it wouldn’t be.

“I mean this idea that Eamon Gilmore is not considering resigning, I can’t understand why he wouldn’t.

“Why would it not be on the agenda?

“If you lost the confidence of your own party, your party members, the public and the electorate, but sure why would you want to continue on for another two years just to make matters worse,” he said.

Sen Whelan said the party needed to “stop being arrogant” and “stop looking down on people” in order to avoid a further drubbing in the General Election in two years time.

“[It’s] not just a change of leader, [we need] a change of leadership style, leadership culture, the manner in which the party functions and operates.

“The manner in which the party does its business. Stop looking down on people, stop being arrogant

“That was never the way of the Labour party’s way and that’s what’s wrong

“We’ve moved to a point where we’re seen as out of touch and detached and that has turned the public on us with a vengeance that’s rarely been seen before.

“If we dont’ change our ways, there’s a further amount of this drubbing on the way in the General Election.”

The senator said party members had to “be fair-minded now and stand up and be honest” .

He told RTE that members cannot be talking in private about their unhappiness with the party’s direction out of fear that they would “be ostracised or isolated”.

“We had many strong dissenting voices, and what did we do? We despatched them to the wilderness.

“It was the wrong thing to do and we’re paying the price,” he added.

Meanwhile, Minister of State Kathleen Lynch told the same programme she retained confidence in the leadership of Eamon Gilmore.

“But there are questions I think we need to ask ourselves and address and I don’t believe it’s all about the leadership.

“Obviously, it will be a part of that analysis but it’s not the only issue,” she said.

The party would now look at what people are telling them, and attempt to analyse whether it was  a protest vote or a vote for an alternative government.

It was “time for a calm rationale, and not a kneejerk reaction”, she added.

 

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