Thursday 18 January 2018

Labour figures fear feud overshadowed think-in

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

LABOUR is frustrated that its party think-in was overshadowed by the ongoing rivalry between Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton.

The relationship between the party's leader and deputy leader dominated the coverage of the event, even though both were at pains to publicly declare their support for each other.

A Labour source said it had been hard for the party to get across its message of the potential for the economy to grow. There was also very little coverage of its discussions on the mortgage arrears crisis.

In a sign of the annoyance among senior party figures about the Gilmore-Burton leadership controversy, Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said he wished "all that nonsense could be put to bed".

He told Newstalk radio Ms Burton's behaviour was a matter for herself. "I'm not going to comment on it. You'll have to put that to the lady herself."

However, he added that the evidence from Australia and Britain was that the public did not like to see differences, "whether real or imagined", emanating from a party in government. This was a reference to feuds between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, and Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.

Irish Independent

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