Thursday 22 August 2019

Former Tanaiste considered bringing down the Coalition on three separate occasions

Eamon Gilmore: Former Tanaiste on the book circuit
Eamon Gilmore: Former Tanaiste on the book circuit
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

FORMER Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has revealed he considered bringing down the Coalition on three separate occasions during the duration of the current Government.

Mr Gilmore said the Coalition was “close to the edge” of collapse over fraught budget negotiations in 2012, the debate over the payment of the Anglo Irish Bank promissory note and at the height of the Garda scandals last year.

Speaking at the launch of his explosive memoir ‘Inside the Room’, Mr Gilmore said the Cabinet row over the payment of the promissory note was the “closest” he came to pulling out of Government.

However, he said he did not believe his book would damage the Labour Party as it prepares it go to the polls seeking to be re-elected with Fine Gael on the back of message of stability.

Instead, Mr Gilmore, who is not running in the election, said his book would help Labour ahead of the election as it told the story of how the party came into Government when the country was “broke” and have since improved the economy.

“It is a quite a remarkable story of success by any Government,” Mr Gilmore said.

“There is no doubt about it we had a rough political time and that has obviously been reflected in opinion polls, and affected the Labour Party in particular. I think it will help the Labour Party in the campaign for the general election,” he added.

Mr Gilmore said the current Labour leader, Tanaiste Joan Burton, has his support ahead of the general election.

In his book, Mr Gilmore is critical of how he was removed from Cabinet by Ms Burton when she took over as Labour leader following the party’s disastrous local election in 2014.

“Nobody knows better than I do the difficult job Joan Burton has,” he said.

Mr Gilmore said it was “unlikely” he would go before the electorate again but added: “if there is an issue I feel motivated about or a set of issues, who knows”.

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