Friday 27 April 2018

Labour learned a valuable lesson from Reynolds era

Daniel McConnell

Daniel McConnell

ALBERT Reynolds's relationship with his Labour Tanaiste Dick Spring was a notoriously rocky one during their two and a half years in office. But the manner in how that coalition fell and Labour's actions toward Reynolds still loom large over the party. It is still recoiling from its previous experiences in government, particularly that of the Fianna Fail-Labour coalition between 1993 and 1994.

That alliance fell apart on November 16, 1994, over the appointment of attorney general Harry Whelehan as High Court president, with the then finance minister Ruairi Quinn famously telling Reynolds: "We've come for a head, Harry's or yours -- it doesn't look like we're getting Harry's."

But, having spent 14 years on the opposition benches, the price Labour paid for "calling for that head" lingers long in the memories of Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, his ministers and his chief advisers.

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