Thursday 12 December 2019

Former Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore: This Government won't last 18 months

Former Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore Photo: Arthur Carron
Former Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore Photo: Arthur Carron

Caroline Crawford

FORMER Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has predicted the collapse of the current Government within a year to 18 months.

Mr Gilmore, who was awarded an honorary doctorate at NUI, Galway yesterday said he believed it would be “a very small thing” that caused the current coalition to become unstuck.

Mr Gilmore said he believed the agreement the Taoiseach had made with Michael Martin would ensure larger issues like budgets did not cause a collapse.

“I think where it will come unstuck is when there will be a crisis in a hospital or a crisis in the gardai or some probably very small thing that will get a lot of public attention and media attention and a storm will build up and it’s the small thing I think will cause the problem and will trigger a confidence vote that will take it down,” he said.

He predicted the current coalition would only last for 12 to 18 months adding; “Parties in opposition can be put under public pressure as well to pull the trigger and I think at some stage that will happen. It’s hard to predict what the issue will be.”

Mr Gilmore said the current Government was not working in terms of legislation.

“If you look already we’re four months since the general election there hasn’t been a single pass of legislation put through the Oireachtas. I think that’s a very big problem because you need all of the time to be updating our laws,” he said.

However, he said some aspects of the new politics were “good and positive”.

“I think for example the idea of budgets will be done by parliamentary committee and in a more open way, I think that’s a very good development,” he added.

Mr Gilmore, who is EU special envoy to the Colombian peace process, also expressed concern about the impact of a British exit from the EU on the Northern peace process saying he believed the outcome was very much in the balance.

He said Britain leaving the EU would “make the border a reality” again on the island of Ireland.

“And if it becomes a physical reality again it becomes part of the politics of the island again and there are a lot of implications from that,” he added.

Speaking about the Labour Party, the former leader said he believed it had “made the right decision” in selecting Brendan Howlin as leader.

However, he said he believed Alan Kelly, who made a bid for the leadership, could take the helm someday.

Describing Mr Kelly as driven, he added: “Alan Kelly has a very bright future in Irish politics and can see him leading the party in the future.”

He said he believed there were good prospects for the party adding that he was optimistic the fortunes of the Labour Party will recover.

Also receiving honorary degrees at NUIG were Clifden arts festival founder Brendan Flynn, who received a doctorate of laws, Druid Theatre actress Marie Mullen, who received a doctorate of arts, and  Galway Contempo Quartet musicians Andreea Banciu, Adrian Mantu, Ingrid Nicola and Bogdan Sofei who received a joint doctorate of music.

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