Wednesday 22 October 2014

Gilmore shows dignity in manner of departure

Published 27/05/2014 | 02:30

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, the Labour Party chief and Foreign Affairs Minister in the Republic's coalition government announces his resignation as the leader of the Labour party. PA
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, the Labour Party chief and Foreign Affairs Minister in the Republic's coalition government announces his resignation as the leader of the Labour party. PA

Dignity was the major hallmark of the manner in which Eamon Gilmore resigned as Labour Party leader. The honesty, grace and speed with which he accepted responsibility for his party's weekend election debacle, without any equivocation or whining, was a breath of fresh air. These prized human characteristics have been too rarely seen in contemporary Irish public life.

Too many political resignations in recent years have come after a prolonged period of attrition and when eventually there was no other choice. The way he departed was consistent with the diligence and ability Eamon Gilmore displayed over the decades of a career as a student leader, union organiser and politician.

Just three years ago the Dun Laoghaire TD was the most successful leader in the long history of the Irish Labour Party. He led the party's biggest delegation to Leinster House and followed up with a presidential election win and even a by-election win.

But it was all rapidly downhill from there on. This weekend's huge local and European Parliament election reverses now call the very future existence of the Labour Party into question.

It is not at all clear whether a change of leader can actually help Labour as it faces into a very uncertain future. Mr Gilmore stays as caretaker leader and Tanaiste and a leadership selection process will commence.

The party's membership needs a little time to gather itself and choose a new leader. They must also re-think whether Labour should continue in coalition or decide to quit, a less likely move, but one which would certainly precipitate an early general election.

In debating all of these decisions, all of the Labour principals and ordinary members must remember their paramount duty of care is to the Irish people. The country is at a very tricky juncture with a fragile nascent economic recovery, which is in part due to the tough government decisions Labour participated in taking.

The nature of the discussions around the future leadership of Labour and its future direction must be measured and very temperate. Whatever decisions are arrived at, the message to the broader world must be one of continuity and stability.

How the Labour Party conducts these processes will reflect on all the Irish people.

Criminals enriched as drugs take yet another life

TWICE in a week, the Health Service Executive has issued warnings about life-threatening batches of illegal drugs in circulation. Yesterday, the warning related to an ecstasy-like substance known as Double Cross or Double Black. The alert followed the death of a young man in Donegal, a death which is now being investigated by the gardai. Another young man has been left on a ventilator, fighting for his life after a house party.

Just last week, an alert was issued about similar substances known as Green Apples or Green Rolexes. That drug had been linked to up to four deaths in the previous month. Those latest warnings came, in turn, after a number of students in UCD became seriously ill after taking LSD and amphetamines.

These incidents are a stark reminder to all parents of the dangers of so-called recreational drugs.

There is, of course, nothing recreational or fun about them; each has the potential to end a life.

It is also a stark reminder of how these deadly substances can reach right into our most respectable communities.

The comic-book names by which some of these substances are known are in stark contrast to the very real devastation they continue to cause to families across the country.

The only ones to benefit are criminal elements which make money from the pain and suffering of those families.

Irish Independent

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