Ferris: Burton couldn’t have saved us from these defeats
LABOUR TD Anne Ferris says Labour still would have suffered heavy defeats even if Joan Burton or another party member had been leader.
She said she supports party leader Eamon Gilmore “one hundred per cent” but warned that the Foreign Affairs Minister needs to secure a ministerial position in “finance or jobs” to prevent a Labour wipe out in the next General Election.
“I’m one hundred per cent behind Eamon Gilmore and I believe that Eamon will lead us into the general election. The book doesn’t stop with Eamon. We all have to look at ourselves. We all have to look at the jobs we’re doing as TDs, as Senators, as Cllrs, as members,” she said at the Wicklow count centre where Labour are on course to win no seats.
“Eamon is the captain of the ship and we’re all on that ship with him. I don’t believe that he deserves to be thrown overboard and I honestly don’t believe that if it was Anne Ferris or Joan Burton or Brendan Howlin that the result would have been any different.”
She later added: “Eamon has to spend time at home building the party up, and being here, talking to people around the countryside and meeting the members and fin the job as party leader because every party leader will be doing the same.”
The Wicklow TD, who said she couldn’t remember a time before when Labour had no representatives in Wicklow, said the party had been prepared for a difficult election.
“Of course we’re disappointed. It’s been a very, very sad day for Labour but it wasn’t surprising because we’d seen the opinion polls we knew we were going to lose a lot of seats. We knew as the smaller part in government the focus would be on us.
“I think it’s a mid-term election. We’ve been battling to try and get the country battling again because people have been living with austerity for six years. When the Troika left in December people thought ‘oh austerity is over’. They expected that things were going to improve immediately.”
“But when I was out canvassing, I said two things: ‘it want going to be quick and it wasn’t going to be easy’. I said to people on the doorstep it’s going to be a five and ten year programme and I still believe that.
She said the major parties all performed badly as people turned to Independent candidates in this election. She said she feels this trend would not be repeated at the next General Election.
“Fianna Fail did very badly today, nationally. Fine Gael did very badly today nationally. Sinn Fein didn’t do as well as they thought even though they are the winners.
“But the real winners are the Independent and I don’t think that will reflect into a general election when it comes because to run a country people aren’t going to elect a big band of Independents with different agenda and think there will be stability.