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Tuesday 21 November 2017

Labour leadership warned on rebellion by party's newest TD

Lyndsey Telford

LABOUR'S newest TD has warned the party leadership to take the rebellion of backbench colleague Tommy Broughan very seriously.

Patrick Nulty was voted into the House in the Dublin West by-election just over a month ago.



He pledged support to Labour veteran Mr Broughan after he refused to back the controversial deposit scheme and warned other backbenchers could follow him out of the parliamentary party.



Mr Nulty, 29, called for the Government to revise its plans for the looming Budget and to protect low and middle earners.



"Tommy Broughan is a long standing Labour member, activist and public representative and his decision to break the party whip should be taken very seriously by the party leadership and Labour ministers in Government," said Mr Nulty.



"It is essential the failed politics of the previous Government are ended."



Tanaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore said he was not surprised by Mr Broughan's opposition, but he insisted he was confident no other backbenchers would revolt.



"It wasn't unexpected," said Mr Gilmore.



"I'm disappointed that any member of the Parliamentary Party would not vote with the Party and the House. I have no reason to believe that anybody else would follow suit."



Mr Nulty, who has in the past made clear his opposition to the Labour-Fine Gael coalition, called for the Government to revise its economic plans and introduce tax increases for high income earners to protect the poor.



Rebel backbencher Mr Broughan became the third Government TD to leave the coalition after he refused to back the deposit protection scheme, which would see the Government write a blank cheque for banks at the expense of the taxpayer.



He said he could not stand over such a move as his strategy has always been to protect the interests of the people.



Mr Broughan also suggested Labour would be better off in opposition, saying he argued from the start that the party should never have entered the coalition.



The North Dublin TD follows in the footsteps of former Junior Minister Willie Penrose, who rebelled over the closure of Columb Barracks in Mullingar and resigned the party whip.



Denis Naughten was expelled from Fine Gael for refusing to support cutbacks in emergency services at Roscommon hospital.



Labour voted against the bank guarantee, or the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee scheme, when in opposition.



It was originally introduced in 2008 for the State to protect deposits held in banks, including Allied Irish, Bank of Ireland, Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide.



But opponents of the scheme, including Sinn Fein and Independent TDS, have warned they are concerned about the Government supporting the banks at the taxpayers' expense.



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