Sunday 28 December 2014

Gilmore tells Labour TDs he deserves credit for his work abroad

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

Published 10/04/2013 | 05:00

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore is complaining that he is not getting enough credit for his work as Foreign Affairs Minister.

He is annoyed that his role in restoring Ireland's battered reputation abroad and promoting trade has been turned into a negative.

During his one-to-one meetings with Labour TDs in the wake of the party's Meath East by-election disaster, he has complained that all the media coverage is about how he is losing influence and time by being out of the country so much.

Mr Gilmore has told TDs that this had been a major communications failure by his own party. He has insisted that he has helped to restore Ireland's battered international reputation and boost foreign direct investment by going around the globe, meeting international leaders and business figures.

So far this year, Mr Gilmore has attended an EU-Latin America summit in Chile, as well as trade missions to the US and Italy. Other trade destinations during his time in office include Russia, Canada, Japan and Korea.

Mr Gilmore has said that he intends to stay on as Foreign Minister. But there is still speculation within the party that he might move portfolios eventually.

One Labour TD who met Mr Gilmore said the Tanaiste had not been happy about the way that his role as Foreign Affairs Minister was being portrayed.

"One of the biggest failures is the stories in the papers that he took the wrong job. But when he took over, Ireland's reputation internationally was like a sinking ship. Now it's been restored and he hasn't been credited for that," said the TD.

Mr Gilmore is in Turkey today on a trade mission with 24 Irish exporting companies. The trip has also involved visits to Syrian refugees in Turkey.

The cabinet meeting due to take place today has been deferred until tomorrow so that he can attend.

It is understood that one of Mr Gilmore's concerns is that very little attention is being paid to the "trade" element of his ministry, with the number of Enterprise Ireland trade missions doubling over the past two years.

Investment

Labour Dublin South Central TD Eric Byrne, who also met Mr Gilmore, said his party leader had travelled "non-stop" around the world, rebuilding the image of the country and encouraging investment.

Mr Gilmore's one-to-one meetings with Labour TDs have eased the pressure on him ahead of next week's parliamentary party meeting because they had a chance to voice their grievances individually.

But another Labour TD said he had aired with Mr Gilmore his demands for a much stronger "Labour stamp" to be put on the next Budget.

Irish Independent

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