Thursday 8 December 2016

Gilmore is now walking a tightrope as Labour leader

Willie Penrose's resignation has heightened the jitters within Labour over Eamon Gilmore's leadership style, writes Daniel McConnell

Published 20/11/2011 | 05:00

BROTHERS IN ARMS: Labour Party leader and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore with Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin before the start of the
Labour Party's Special Parliamentary Party meeting in Tullow, Co Carlow. Photo: Frank McGrath
BROTHERS IN ARMS: Labour Party leader and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore with Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin before the start of the Labour Party's Special Parliamentary Party meeting in Tullow, Co Carlow. Photo: Frank McGrath

IN a speech last week, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore spoke of 2011 being an historic year for the Labour Party. The party won its highest-ever number of Dail seats last February, is now sitting in government and Michael D Higgins's presidential victory is the icing on the cake.

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On the one hand, Mr Gilmore is justified in calling himself the most successful Labour leader in history. That, however, belies the deep divisions within his own party, the existence of a number of high-profile disaffected party members surrounding him -- including some of his own ministers -- and questions lingering over his effectiveness as leader.

Often in politics, inter-party divisions, scars or animosities are suppressed, so the wider public is not aware of them. But deep cracks in the Labour veneer have surfaced in the past seven days.

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