Saturday 18 November 2017

Gilmore: my foreign work is crucial to our recovery

Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has insisted he is happy staying at the Department of Foreign Affairs, despite Labour politicians pressing him to transfer to a domestic economic ministry.

Mr Gilmore turned on critics who blamed his overseas ministerial work as a factor in the Labour Party's collapsing poll fortunes and the decision by 28 elected politicians to quit since 2011.

The party was rocked this week by three high-profile resignations, including that of councillor Jimmy O'Shaughnessy, chairman of Wicklow County Council and a Labour official for almost 40 years. He accused the Labour leadership of having "lost their way".

But the Tanaiste urged Labour members to show "courage" and stick with the party as the Coalition tackles Ireland's economic woes.

He also insisted he was "very happy with what I am doing" at Iveagh House.

"What I am doing is central to this country's economic recovery . . . let's be clear about this. We have had a job of work to do," he said.

"When we went into Government two-and-a-half years ago, we were referred to as one of the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain). Our standing in the world was in tatters, our reputation was ruined.

"We had to restore that, and that was primarily my job as Minister for Foreign Affairs. I am very glad we have restored it."

POLLS

Mr Gilmore last month faced intense pressure at a Labour parliamentary party meeting to spend more time in Ireland to address the opinion poll woes.

Mr Gilmore refused to be drawn on the timing or detail or any cabinet reshuffle.

"It is something that the Taoiseach and I will address in due course," he said.

The Tanaiste admitted that, like any party leader, he would prefer to see Labour doing better in the opinion polls.

Irish Independent

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