Thursday 23 November 2017

Labour TD calls for ‘complete clear-out’ of party’s ‘old-guard’

A Labour TD has claimed the party needs a complete clear out if they are to survive the General Election in two years’ time.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland programme earlier, Dominic Hannigan said he saw such a move as “necessary”.

“The arrogance has to be removed – the lack of empathy out there, that has to go,” he said.

When it was pointed out to him by the host that he was first term TD, with no experience as a junior minister, Mr Hannigan said experience could be “over-estimated”.

“Firstly, President Obama didn’t have executive experience before he was elected, neither did people like Tony Blair so I wouldn’t over-estimate experience

“The second, many of my colleagues are in their thirties and their forties with a wealth of experience in the public sector, the private sector as workers and managers, we even have farmers in our party.

“What we don’t need is 25 years experience in a bunker in Leinster House,” he said.

Mr Hannigan also confirmed that he is considering running for the leadership of the party – but had only decided on the move in recent days.

"I’m thinking about it – I wasn’t thinking about it on Monday when it happened. My main focus on Monday was to sure there was a vacancy so we could have this debate.

"Since then, I’ve been approached by many people suggesting that I run so I’m considering it."

Speaking about the experience party members experience before the local election, Mr Hannigan said it was down to the broken promises the party made before the 2011 General Election.

Three years ago the party promised no hikes in university fees or motor tax, and no water charges. All three have been implemented.

“People gave us their votes in 2011 – they expected us to protect them.

“We failed in regard to that.

“We have to make the case to get them back.

“I think it [the broken promises] is a big problem.

“I think it’s something that we haven’t addressed.

“I think we have to put our hands up and say ‘we apologise for doing that’.

“We shouldn’t have done it in the view of many of my colleagues on the back benches, there was no need to do that in the final week of the campaign.

“I know my seat and many others would have been won without those promises.

“It was foolhardy.

“I think what we need to show people is that we’re serious about what they want to see changed in the party. The first part of that was the sad but necessary removal of the leader of the party on Monday.

“We have to be very clear with people out there that we mean business.

“We’re not prepared to let the Labour Party die at the next election. We’re going to make changes.”

"First step was the removal of the leader."

"The next step is to have an open debate with potential candidates about how they can change the Labour party, about how they can make sure we are relevant to people’s needs, about how we show them that we empathise with what they’re going through."

Irish Independent

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