Thursday 23 November 2017

Gilmore becomes party whipping boy as history repeats itself

Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore (right), the Labour Party chief and Foreign Affairs Minister in the coalition government announces his resignation as the leader of the Labour party in front of his ministerial colleagues at the department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin. PA
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore (right), the Labour Party chief and Foreign Affairs Minister in the coalition government announces his resignation as the leader of the Labour party in front of his ministerial colleagues at the department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin. PA

Brian Murphy

The posters said 'Gilmore for Taoiseach.' Today, they are being viewed as an act of political hubris, but they once seemed to capture the public mood. A Red C poll in December 2010 revealed that 45pc of people believed the Labour leader would make the best Taoiseach, putting him far ahead of Enda Kenny and Brian Cowen.

The posters certainly had a novelty value. Ireland has never had a Labour Taoiseach, though few people remember that the first leader of the Labour Party in the post-independence era only lost out on becoming head of government because a drunken TD missed a crucial Dail vote.

The year was 1927 and the political context was Fianna Fail's ground-breaking decision to take the Oath and enter Dail Eireann.

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