Thursday 8 December 2016

Bland Labour Party bash eschews ructions for that other R-word – recovery

Published 17/02/2014 | 02:30

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore delivers his keynote speech at the Labour Party Ard Fheis at the Johnstown House Hotel in Co Meath. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore delivers his keynote speech at the Labour Party Ard Fheis at the Johnstown House Hotel in Co Meath. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Joan Burton, deputy Labour Party leader and Minister for Social Protection at the party’s conference at Johnstown.

THE group of anti-pylon protesters outside the Johnstown House Hotel in Enfield was small, but perfectly vocal. Waving professional-looking banners and indignant fists, they provided a noisy welcome committee for the leaders and followers of Labour as they arrived for their party conference.

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And having seen all the arrivals safely onto the premises, the protesters departed. It was a far cry (in every sense of the expression) from the rambunctious ri-ra in Galway two years ago when protesters scuffled with gardai after breaking through the barricades surrounding Labour's conference venue in NUIG.

Since then, the junior coalition partners have ensured there's no chance that the delegates will come eyeball-to-eyeball with revolting peasants. And so this year's get-together was protected by various steel rings of security which included handy-looking lads sporting suits and earpieces wandering about the corridors, and everyone sporting fancy-dan electronic badges for access to the conference area.

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