'Moderate' backbench TD attacks Gilmore
TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore is facing another headache after one of his most moderate backbenchers criticised him for not listening to party members.
Labour TD Robert Dowds is also one of a number of backbenchers who is backing no-nonsense party veteran Ray Kavanagh in the Labour chairperson election this month.
Several backbenchers are now supporting Mr Kavanagh, rather than the current holder of the post, Lorraine Mulligan, who is seen as closer to Mr Gilmore. Mr Dowds said that the party needed an independent and outspoken chairperson who would stand up for the interests of Labour members.
"At a time when the party leadership is not paying sufficient attention to the membership, Labour needs a chairperson who will not let the party hierarchy forget that," said the Dublin Mid West TD.
Current Labour chair Lorraine Mulligan said she had never sought Mr Gilmore's endorsement to run for the position.
Mr Dowds' criticisms are significant because he is seen in the party as a moderate rather than a hardcore critic of the leadership.
Around 1,000 Labour delegates will be entitled to elect the new chairperson at the party's annual conference in Killarney at the end of this month.
A Labour source said Mr Gilmore would be staying out of the contest to elect a new chairperson but would have high regard for both Ms Mulligan or Mr Kavanagh.