Monday 29 May 2017

Alan Kelly says politicians becoming emotional 'shows interest in topic'

Environment Minister Alan Kelly
Environment Minister Alan Kelly
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

A POLITICIAN who becomes “emotional” over a particular issue is also displaying a “certain level of spirit”, according to Labour Party deputy leader Alan Kelly.

Mr Kelly made the remark after it was revealed he fought back tears at the Labour Parliamentary Party meeting on Wednesday night.

The Environment Minister choked up as he addressed his party colleagues over the alleged leak of analysis which claimed that the party is facing seat losses of 20 seats at the General Election.

Mr Kelly told the party meeting that both he and his staff had "fingers pointed at them all week", adding that the controversy allowed Fine Gael to steal a step on Labour in relation to policy issues.

He has completely denied having played any part in the alleged leak.

Several sources at the meeting confirmed that Mr Kelly became emotional as he urged the party to re-unite ahead of the General Election.

And speaking in Dublin City today, the Tipperary TD said there is nothing wrong with a politician becoming emotional.

“Firstly, that’s a private meeting so none of us who are members of the parliamentary party will be referring to what happened inside a private meeting,” Mr Kelly told reporters.

“But I will just say this: I don’t think necessarily if someone got emotional during a meeting, that that’s particularly a bad thing. I think that shows a certain level of spirit and interest in the topic.

But it’s a private meeting so obviously we don’t discuss what happens inside a private meeting.”

Meanwhile, Mr Kelly’s Labour colleague, Communications Minister Alex White, described Labour’s role in government as “indispensable”.

The latest opinion poll commissioned by Paddy Power.  shows Labour on 9pc, a rise of two points.

Mr White said that many of the social changes in recent years, such as abortion legislation and the Marriage Equality referendum, were achieved because Labour “insisted” on it.

And he said the party does not have any issue with other parties, such as Fine Gael, aligning their policy positions with those of Labour.

“We have never been a majority party in Government. But we have been an absolutely indispensable element of change in Ireland.Social change and economic fairness,” Mr White said.

“And we provide that and the extent in which people take on their policies, perhaps as it suits, one day they have a particular position ,the next day they have one closer to ours. We don’t mind that. What we want to do is deliver for the people,”the Dublin-Rathdown TD added.

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