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Sunday 17 December 2017

Meet Labour's newest defector. He thinks Ruairi Quinn is a bore

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

LABOUR'S latest recruit previously ridiculed some senior party members -- even calling one a half-wit.

Former Sinn Fein councillor Killian Forde, who was unveiled by Labour leader Eamon Gilmore yesterday, posted the insulting comments on his personal blog over the past few years. Mr Forde, who is based in north Dublin, described social affairs spokeswoman Roisin Shortall as one of a number of "parochial half-wit grafters that colonised our parliament".

Former Finance Minister Ruairi Quinn was labelled "Ireland's Eurobore". Mr Forde joked that Mr Quinn would give a speech on "why I never had a real job but know everything, about everything, ever".

And the deceased former minister Conor Cruise O'Brien was described as an "intellectually corrupt" politician who committed "treasonous" acts.

Mr Forde has sat on Dublin City Council for Sinn Fein since 2004 and was re-elected in the Donaghmede ward last year. He also previously called Labour's Eric Byrne one of his most dislikeable colleagues on the council, "on both a personal and political level".

When contacted yesterday, Ms Shortall said she had "no opinion on Killian Forde whatsoever".

Mr Quinn said that the "road to Damascus is not closed" and said Mr Forde was "entitled to change his opinion".

Fidelity

However, Mr Forde was unrepentant in his opinions on Mr Quinn last night. "I did say Ruairi Quinn was boring, and I don't think anyone would disagree with that," he told the Irish Independent.

His blog posts were highlighted by Fianna Fail city councillor Jim O'Callaghan.

"In light of these comments, councillor Forde's recent statements of loyalty to the Labour Party should be treated the same as expressions of fidelity from Tiger Woods or Iris Robinson," Mr O'Callaghan said.

But Mr Forde said he couldn't care less what anyone from Fianna Fail said because they were irrelevant.

"Politics is never about personalities, it's about policies," he said. The defection is another blow to an already weakened Sinn Fein in the Republic.

Mr Forde is the third councillor in Dublin City to leave the party after Louise Minihan last July and Christy Burke last June. Sinn Fein now has four seats on the council.

Mr Forde said there were problems with "internal democracy" within Sinn Fein.

He said that he had become concerned about the direction of the party over the past three years, but had only taken the decision to join Labour recently.

Mr Forde's move means he could be added to the Labour ticket in Dublin North East at the next general election.

Irish Independent

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