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We’d be better out of coalition – Labour rebel Broughan


Tommy Broughan

Tommy Broughan


A REBEL Labour backbencher has become the third Government TD kicked out of the coalition after he refused to support the bank guarantee and called on the party to return to opposition.

Just days before Budget 2012 and the potential for already vulnerable groups to face deeper hardship, Tommy Broughan refused to support the controversial deposit protection scheme.

"What happened today is related to what's going to happen on Monday and Tuesday. It is cause and effect and today is part of the cause for the reason that we are going to take four billion euro out of the economy," he said.

"I couldn't stand over it. I believe in the interest of the people. That's always been my strategy and I didn't feel I could support that scheme."

The North Dublin TD joins colleague Willie Penrose, who rebelled over the closure of Columb Barracks in Mullingar, and Denis Naughten, who was expelled from Fine Gael for refusing to support cutbacks in emergency services at Roscommon hospital.

Mr Broughan suggested Labour would be better off in opposition.

"I argued very strongly that we shouldn't enter the Government. That we should lead the opposition with our nearly 40 seats," he said.

"We should fiercely oppose Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and prepare to take power down the line and have a Labour Government that was put there to represent working people to the Nth degree."

Emmet Stagg, Labour chief whip, confirmed the 64-year-old had been expelled.

"His actions are regarded as a grievous breach of party discipline and he has been expelled from the Parliamentary Labour Party with immediate effect," Mr Stagg said.

The dispute is the second show of dissent in Labour ranks in the last few weeks.

Mr Broughan refused to support the renewal of the Eligible Liabilities Guarantee scheme, which is due to expire at the end of December. Labour voted against it in opposition.

It was originally introduced in 2008 for the State to protect deposits held in banks, including Allied Irish, Bank of Ireland, Anglo Irish and Irish Nationwide.

Opponents of the scheme have warned they are concerned about the Government supporting the banks on the taxpayers' expense.

Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty said the guarantee is a blank cheque for banks, including Anglo, and said the extension is a major U-turn for the coalition.

"Given the risk to the taxpayer involved in the bank guarantee this must be the single biggest and most expensive political U-turn in Dail history," said Mr Doherty.

He added: "The scale of this U-turn is truly breathtaking, given the depth of opposition to the bank guarantee, particularly from the Labour Party.

"If there is to be one single decision which represents the Labour Party's capitulation to the failed policies of Fianna Fail it will surely be this. So much for not writing blank cheques for failed banks."

Despite Mr Broughan's revolt, there is no danger of the coalition Government losing its bid to extend the guarantee by six months as it holds a large majority and also has Fianna Fail support for the move.

"The banks have not changed, the culture has not changed, we haven't got support for small business, we haven't got support for households," he said.

"Even though we own the agencies that are in remit of the coverage of this scheme, that hasn't changed."

The Labour veteran also warned that Europe should be taking more responsibility for the massive banking debts that have crippled the Irish economy.

"If we're going to stay with the euro we need to have a fundamental commitment from the European Central Bank that those are their liabilities. It's their currency. It shouldn't be imposed on one of the smallest populations of the eurozone or Europe,"