Wednesday 7 December 2016

Is gospel according to Phil key to Labour redemption?

Burton's the ideal candidate to lead revival, but party seems to favour a Dullsville veteran.

Eilis O'Hanlon

Published 04/05/2014 | 02:30

Eamon Gilmore and Phil Prendergast
Eamon Gilmore and Phil Prendergast

Phil Prendergast is Labour's answer to John the Baptist. She is the one preparing the way for the Messiah who will come and save them all. Such forerunners rarely get to enjoy the fruits of their labour, but at least they have the satisfaction of knowing that, had it not been for their sacrifice, nothing would have changed.

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In the Cork-based MEP's case, her only punishment for calling on Eamon Gilmore to step aside for a new leader has been a spell on the "bold step", as she put it. Could be worse. John the Baptist ended up with his head on a plate.

Whether she's right to deem Labour unelectable whilst Gilmore remains in the big chair is, of course, beside the point, because he's not going anywhere. At least not until after the European and local elections. Even his harshest critics – and what Phil Prendergast said in public is nothing compared to what some disillusioned Labour supporters are saying in private – don't see any benefit in a leadership election right now. You don't ditch the man who brought the party its biggest ever election victory on the eve of another election, even if Fianna Fail was so unpopular at the last election that a monkey in a suit could have led Labour to its biggest ever haul of Dail seats.

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