Wednesday 28 September 2016

Fionnan Sheahan: There may be more trouble ahead for unlucky Gilmore

Published 14/12/2012 | 05:00

Faber est quisque fortunae suae. Of course, a Latin scholar like Colm Keaveney will be familiar with the saying from the writings of Appius Claudius Caecus, roughly translating as: "Every man is the architect of his own fortune."

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The Galway East TD has decided to shape his fortunes outside the parliamentary party as he can't stand over the social welfare cuts in the Budget.

Mr Keaveney had the conviction to follow through on his expressions of dissatisfaction and walk on a point of principle.

His election as chairman at the Labour conference was widely viewed as a real two-fingered gesture to the party leadership from the grassroots.

He fended off the challenge of candidates regarded as more palatable to the party hierarchy so his election was a sign Labour members want the party's identity to be more strongly promoted within the Coalition.

Mr Keaveney can legitimately argue his mandate comes from the ordinary party members to represent the Labour voice – not the Government's stance.

This is another embarrassing loss for Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, who has now lost five Labour TDs from the Coalition. Though he won't be shedding many tears.

Mr Keaveney quickly developed a reputation as an outspoken voice and was a thorn in his leader's side.

There may be more to follow. Mr Keaveney's departure really ups the ante for those who have been mouthing off on the Budget – most notably Senator John Whelan.

After such trenchant criticism in the past week of the party he joined a little over two years ago, it's time for the senator to put up and shut up or take the walk to the opposition.

Mr Gilmore fired a broadside at those from his party who have walked away from the Coalition last night.

"We are either shaping the solution, or we are watching it from across the lobby."

Following a difficult day, where Labour had to bite hard and do the previously unthinkable, the party can rightly be resolute after taking such difficult choices. Mr Gilmore could have added: Tu ne cede malis sed contra audentior ito.

"Yield not to misfortunes, but advance all the more boldly against them."

Irish Independent

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