Sunday 15 September 2019

'Cabinet leaks put me constantly on back foot'

How the Irish Independent reported the story in 2011
How the Irish Independent reported the story in 2011
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

Former Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore claims leaking from inside the Cabinet room "undermined me within the party and with the public" and "put me constantly on the back foot".

Mr Gilmore admits in his new book 'Inside the Room' that he limited his contributions at the Cabinet table because he had already discussed items with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

However, during the Coalition's first year in office, the former Labour Party leader and his confidante, Pat Rabbitte, responded furiously to a report in the Irish Independent of colleagues' surprise at how quiet he was at the Cabinet table.

In his memoirs, Mr Gilmore describes the corrosive impact of constant criticism from within Labour of his leadership.

"The criticism of Labour, apparently from 'inside', reinforced by disloyal comments from 'unnamed sources' within the Party, is what did the greatest damage," he writes.

Mr Gilmore's lack of contribution was interpreted by colleagues as him being indecisive, unsure of himself, and quiet. He now explains why he was quiet.

"Because I had already forensically examined and 'Labour-proofed' every proposal ... and most of the big economic decisions were being considered at the EMC, I did not make long speeches at Cabinet meetings, nor did I contribute to the discussions on every item.

"Just a few months into the life of the Government and on the first day of Labour's parliamentary party away day in September 2011, the Irish Independent reported that I was 'quiet' at Cabinet meetings, quoting an unnamed Cabinet Minister as the source.

"Unfortunately, this was not the only report from inside the Cabinet room which undermined me within the party and with the public.

"Unnamed Cabinet sources complained about the existence of the EMC and what it was doing. And there was serial leaking of Cabinet discussions, and of proposals that were before Cabinet, some of which were never actually decided on.

"All of this put me constantly on the back foot."

Mr Gilmore said attacks from TDs who left Labour during the Coalition's time in office contributed heavily to the damage.

Irish Independent

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