independent

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Mayor to quit Labour

PAUL BELL: 'SADDEST DAY OF MY POLITICAL CAREER'

HUBERT MURPHY

Published 12/12/2012 | 11:33

MAYOR of Drogheda Paul Bell will not contest the next local elections as a member of the Labour Party.

Speaking to the Drogheda Independent on Tuesday, he revealed that last week's Budget had made up his mind after months of soul searching.

'It is the saddest day in my 30-year political career when I say I won't be part of the Labour Party come the next election. For me there was a red line issue in the Budget and that was protecting children's allowance and that didn't happen. The cuts are the same for people on an average working wage and a millionaire.'

Joining the Labour Party as a 17-year-old, the consistent poll topper from Ballsgrove says he will continue to battle ' on behalf of the people'.

It remains to be seen how his role will be impacted given his intention to leave the Labour party. MAYOR OF Drogheda Cllr Paul Bell has revealed he will not be contesting the next local elections as a member of the Labour Party.

Last week's Budget had made up his mind after months of soul searching, admitting it had been a ' turbulent week'.

He felt the cut in children's allowance was the red line issue he found great difficulty with.

' Protecting children's allowance was the red line and that didn't happen. The cuts are the same for people on an average working wage and a millionaire. That's can't be right, surely?'

His uncle, Michael Bell TD, more than once stood defiant when the party was going in a direction which he felt did not serve it well. Paul Bell finds himself on that very path today.

'It is the saddest day in my 30year political career when I say I won't be part of the Labour Party come the next election.

'It has been a tough decision but the promises and commitments made before the election were not fulfilled. The commitment was to defend the working people. The Budget did not reach those expectations.'

His ideals centre on the people who voted for Labour, but many will see themselves losing up to €1,000 as a result of the Budget. He fears for them, their families and future.

Joining the Labour Party as a 17-year-old, the consistent poll topper from Ballsgrove says he will continue to battle 'on behalf of the people'.

'Do we live in a society or an economy? The Budget will impact on the elderly, especially in relation to electricity and fuel costs. The rise in medical card prescriptions is sizeable from the income they get, especially those only on state payments.'

He has always voiced his belief that austerity does not work and wants to see concrete ways of getting people back to work.

'I appreciate it is difficult to be in government and the situation is not easy and Deputy Gerald Nash is doing his best. In that regard, he is a friend and colleague. I have my personal vision and maybe instead of me leaving the Labour Party, perhaps it has left me,' he admitted.

It remains to be seen how the Labour mayor's role will now be impacted given his intention to leave the party.

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