Saturday 10 December 2016

Frank Cluskey was my grandfather, but Labour should not count on me for a vote

Published 02/06/2014 | 02:30

Joan Burton is standing for the Labour party leadership. Photo: Damien Eagers
Joan Burton is standing for the Labour party leadership. Photo: Damien Eagers
Frank Cluskey

JOAN Burton doesn't speak for me. Until recently, I was one of those voters who told canvassers not to bother. Having grown up in the shadow of Frank Cluskey, the leader of the Labour Party between 1977 and 1981 and my maternal grandfather, my vote for Labour was a sure thing.

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Though he died months after I was born I feel like I knew him, having heard story after story about Frank's time at Labour and later, as lord mayor of Dublin. It feels as though anyone who was of adult age during his era has a tale to tell about him. He was a progressive, a staunch trade unionist, in favour of the separation of church and state.

Now, for the first time since I turned 18, my vote for Labour is not assured. It will be decided by whom the party selects to replace Eamon Gilmore. Having utterly failed the people who voted them in over the last two years, this is Labour's chance for redemption.

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