Sunday 18 February 2018

Burton indicates possible heave against Gilmore after Labour 'shellacking'

'I'm not not going to call anything like that until we have all of the results in'

Joan Burton
Joan Burton
Joan Burton and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore
Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton
Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte Picture: Frank Mc Grath
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Joan Burton has strongly hinted that she is considering launching a heave against party leader Eamon Gilmore.

The Social Protection Minister has hinted that there needs to be changes at the top of the party, which she says has been given a "shellacking by the electorate".

"I think in some ways Barack Obama, talking about the mid term elections in the United States, probably put it well when he said: You know, 'the electorate have given the Labour Party a shellacking.'"

Asked specifically if she would consider launching a heave against Mr Gilmore, Ms Burton replied:

"I'm not going to call anything like that until we have all of the results in."

While she said she has "confidence" in Mr Gilmore, Ms Burton gave a far from ringing endorsement of his leader.

On two occasions during an interview with reporters at the City West count centre, Ms Burton called for an examination of "the way business is done" within the party.

"I think the issues are far wider than simply the issue of one person or personalities, I think the issues go much wider and I think they affect policy and the way business is done," she added.

Ms Burton was pressed on several occasions on her support for Mr Gilmore with a number of reporters pointing out that she was stopping short of given a full endorsement.

"It's not about individual personalities within the Labour Party. It's actually about the purpose, about the content of the policies and the way government works, I think we need to look at all of that," she said.

She branded Labour's election result as a "shellacking" as she gave a of party leader Eamon Gilmore.

Ms Burton was flanked by Loraine Mulligan, the party's by-election candidate who faces being eliminated in seventh place.

Minister Kathleen Lynch said on the Labour result: ‘‘..maybe we haven’t been very good at the message and rebutting the clear lies and distortion that others have levelled at us and maybe we need to get better at that,’’ she told George Hook on Newstalk.

‘‘It wasn’t as if we went into this government blind, we knew the crisis of the country then – it had four months money remaining - …..and we brought the country back from that brink.’’

‘‘The central question for me is this. Is this a protest vote or is it a vote for alternative government?’’

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