Former Labour leader Eamon Gilmore: I won't run in next election
Published 03/06/2015 | 02:30
Former Tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore is bowing out of politics and will not contest the next general election.
He was forced to resign as party leader after Labour lost heavily in local and European Parliament elections in May 2014. At the time his own TDs and senators turned against him a matter of days after the final results were declared.
But in the past fortnight he has been warmly praised for championing the same-sex marriage referendum within Government, after it was carried by a resounding vote 12 days ago.
Mr Gilmore has been a TD since June 1989, when he was elected for the then-Workers' Party. Prior to that he had worked as an official of the Irish Transport & General Workers' Union which later became SIPTU.
Read more here: Gilmore enjoyed highest of highs and lowest of lows with Labour
He went on to serve as junior environment minister when the re-named Democratic Left (DL) joined with Fine Gael and Labour in the Rainbow Coalition of 1994-1997. Mr Gilmore joined Labour after DL merged with the party in 1999.
In autumn 2002, he stood for the Labour Party leadership after Ruairí Quinn resigned, but was defeated by his former DL and trade union colleague, Pat Rabbitte. He was elected Labour leader in 2007, leading it into Coalition with Fine Gael in 2011, when he became Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minister.
Mr Gilmore thanked the Dún Laoghaire Labour Party for their continued support and friendship, and the staff with whom he had worked for their loyalty and hard work.
"It has been an honour to represent the people of Dún Laoghaire for the past 30 years and I am also informing members of the Labour Party, in my constituency of my decision," he said.
Mr Gilmore also acknowledged his Labour Party parliamentary colleagues, and others across the political spectrum, for their work in the public interest. He said he would continue to contribute to public life and the Labour Party.
"Above all, I wish to thank my wife Carol and our children Gráinne, Oisín and Sean for their love and comfort through all the challenges of my public life. And I want to thank too our extended family, and our personal friends who were always there for us," he added.
A native of Caltra, in east Galway, he got his first taste of politics at University College Galway, where he studied psychology. He was president of the students' union there in 1974/75, and was national president of the Union of Students in Ireland from 1976-78.