Gilmore warns TDs that 'traps' will be set
Published 19/07/2011 | 05:00
GOVERNMENT backbenchers are free to mouth off against coalition policies -- but only as long as they vote in the Dail for the same measures they are criticising.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore yesterday said he and Taoiseach Enda Kenny agreed their TDs would not be muzzled. But the Labour Party leader has also warned his backbenchers that "traps will be set for them".
In an interview with the Irish Independent, Mr Gilmore denied he was merely allowing the two parties in coalition to keep their distance and letting their TDs be both government and opposition.
"There is one government here and it is working in co-operation and we are very much joined up," he said.
Following attacks by Labour Party backbenchers on Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton, Mr Gilmore said Fine Gael and Labour TDs would be allowed to speak out if they disagreed with a policy.
"Both the Taoiseach and I are in agreement that, yes there is a requirement on every deputy to comply with the whip and to vote with the Government in the House. But we are not in the position of muzzling members of our parliamentary party," he said.
"I have cautioned my own backbenchers to understand that if they issue a press release on Friday about something, they may be facing a private members' motion in the House on Tuesday or Wednesday that they'll have to vote on the very same thing. They need to be aware that traps will be set."