Friday 22 September 2017

James Downey: Why Gilmore and Rabbitte can rest easy -- for now

SHOULD the Labour leadership take the indications of unrest on the party backbenches seriously? The short answer is: not yet. At first glance, the resignations of the party whip by four deputies might look like something worthy of such descriptions as "revolt" and "rebellion". But the four incidents bore hardly any relationship to one another. And there is no immediate likelihood of dissent spreading more widely.

Two of those who have left the parliamentary party, deputies Tommy Broughan and Patrick Nulty, have been dismissed by the leadership as "usual suspects". A third, Willie Penrose, a former junior minister, resigned the whip on a constituency issue. He has since voted with the Government.

The only resignation to cause a public furore, and anxious consultations involving Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, was that of another former junior minister, Roisin Shortall.

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