Saturday 21 October 2017

Labour MEP accuses former colleague of 'political piracy'

Fionnan Sheahan Group Political Editor

A LABOUR MEP is standing by her biting description of a former party colleague as a "political pirate" who "plunders and destroys all in sight and then sails on".

Emails obtained by the Irish Independent reveal a vicious exchange between the two MEPs, who will be running against each other in next year's European elections.

Labour MEP Phil Prendergast made the "political pirate" charge against her former European Parliament colleague Nessa Childers, who has left the party.

"She is the equivalent of a political pirate, she comes into port, plunders and destroys all in sight and then sails on to the next harbour (or party!) without a second thought for the destruction in her wake," she wrote in an email to fellow MEPs this week.

The attack on Ms Childers came after she had accused her former Labour colleagues of forcing her out of the Socialist Group in the EU Parliament.

Ms Childers wrote an email to Socialist MEPs, saying many of her colleagues believed she "willingly or indeed wished" to leave the group.

She continued: "The fact is that I did not want to leave the group, however the Irish Labour Party and the Irish delegation were 'very vocal' in their insistence that I leave."

Ms Prendergast is the Labour MEP for Ireland South. Ms Childers represents Ireland East.

Following a redrawing of the European constituencies, both are now based in the new constituency of Ireland South, running from Wicklow to Kerry.

Ms Childers is a former Green Party councillor and before that she had previously been a member of Labour.

The daughter of former Fianna Fail president Erskine Childers joined Labour before the last European elections, but had a fractious relationship with the leadership. She often criticised policy, before leaving to become an Independent.

Ms Childers said she saw her departure from the Socialists as a "temporary situation" and intends to apply to re-join if she is elected.

But Ms Prendergast hit back in another email to colleagues, denying that the Irish delegation had anything to do with asking her to resign.

"I challenge Ms Childers to produce one single shred of evidence that I had anything to do with her being asked to resign," she said.

"Her assertion that she has maintained a "dignified silence" is almost laughable. Ms Childers seems to have no idea of the meaning of the words.

'VICTIM'

"She has spent the past three years attacking the Labour Party, instead of recognising the good work undertaken by activists and councillors all over Ireland. She was more concerned with chasing cheap headlines rather than affecting any real change to people's lives. It really is the worst type of politics," she adds.

Last night, Ms Prendergast said she did send the email in response to Ms Childers to refute the assertions.

"I went to her and said to her, 'Clearly, I have nothing to do with you leaving the group.' I think it is something she did to garner a bit of sympathy.

"She has exploited every single opportunity to make herself out to be a victim," she said.

Ms Childers was unavailable for comment.

Irish Independent

Also in this section