| 0.9°C Dublin

Gerry O'Carroll: Can anything be done to stop the Labour rot? I doubt it


Joan Burton

Joan Burton

Lee McDonnell

Lee McDonnell

Rory McIlroy at the RTE Sports Awards 2014 in association with the Irish SportsCouncil, at RTE studios, Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

Rory McIlroy at the RTE Sports Awards 2014 in association with the Irish SportsCouncil, at RTE studios, Dublin. Picture:Arthur Carron

John Gilligan.

John Gilligan.


Joan Burton

It seems all but certain now that the Labour Party, the oldest political party in the State, is facing annihilation at the next General Election.

The latest Sunday Independent/Millward Brown poll indicated that Labour, at just 5pc, is destined for extinction along the lines of the Progressive Democrats and the Green Party. 

Support for Labour has imploded.  The party has lost the trust, respect and support of its grass roots who feel utterly betrayed and let down.

Promises and pledges made by Labour candidates to their voters prior to the 2011 General Election have been broken.

Disgusted and betrayed even the most ardent Labour supporters have deserted the cause in their droves. 

After their disastrous result in the last local and European elections, Joan Burton (right) was elected leader and subsequently appointed Tánaiste, in place of Eamon Gilmore.

That move did little for the party’s numbers. The much-heralded Burton bounce turned out to be a damn squib. 

Still, you have to hand it to Joan who, despite the calamitous opinion polls, is still waving the red flag and bubbling with optimism.

She insists that Labour can make a comeback before the next election and that the forthcoming election will be fought on trust. 

Burton’s use of that phrase shows how completely out of touch she is with reality.  Is she so disconnected from the rank and file of Labour that she cannot see their anger and frustration and that it is that very lack of trust that is causing them to turn their backs in their droves on the party?

Ms Burton for all her fighting words and upbeat talk must now realise that Labour is dead in the water. 

The working class people that the party purports to represent have run out of patience.

Since tasting the fruits of power Labour has sacrificed many core values and principles of their bedrock policy on the altar of expediency. 

As a prime example, take the controversial water charges.

Prior to coming to power Labour vehemently opposed them and yet when in government they did a u-turn in support of the introduction of this unpopular charge.

When the Labour grandees survey the ruins of the party after the next election they will be forced to accept the harsh truth that the demise of this once-proud political movement was down to its shameful, political cowardice.

Can something be done to turn this around? At this late stage, I wouldn’t bet on it.

From takeaway to to getaway, what a shambles

The food must be bad in Portlaoise Prison.

After all, prison officers travelling there from Dublin are forced to stop their van in Inchicore to get chips for criminals.

Call me naive, but I thought violent inmates of the country’s maximum security prison were rushed to and from Dublin hospital appointments without stopping.

Not so, it seems. Last week a van carrying Lee McDonnell, doing 10 years for a string of crimes including violent robbery, stopped in Inchicore for chips. McDonnell was peckish, it was reported.

Unsurprisingly he then did what any violent criminal would do in such circumstances.

He attempted to escape – and he succeeded.

Apparently he managed to get out of his cuffs and when prison officers opened the van door to hand him his food, he made a run for it.

The Prison Service is carrying out an investigation though – excuse the pun – I’d have thought this to be an open and shut case.

This violent, unpredictable gangster is today, more than a week later, still at large.

He has 74 convictions, including a previous four year sentence for hijacking a car, and was not due to be released from prison until 2019.

What crimes has McDonnell committed while on the run? Or is he even in the country anymore?

How many garda man hours, scarce at the best of times, are being spent on tracking him on down?

All this for a bag of chips, less than an hour away from a prison full of food.

What a country we live in.


Nothing beats time with your loved ones

Around this time of year a line from an old Christmas carol always comes to mind: “Christmas comes but once a year and when it comes it brings good cheer.” 

Yes folks, its that time of year again. Time to try and forget the troubles and cares of this weary old world for a few days at least and embrace and marvel at the miracle of the joy and peace that steals into all our hearts at this magical time of the year. 

I will be enjoying Christmas this year with my family in Listowel and the icing on my Christmas cake is that my daughter Ellie, living abroad in Spain, will be home to join the rest of the family this Christmas Day.

Of course, this a happy time for all families and particularly for those with little kids. And it is also a time to remember our departed loved ones who will be missing from this year’s feast.

 At the end of the day, after all the glitter and tinsel and Christmas trees, fairy lights and presents, having family around the house is all that matters. I wish all Herald readers a happy Christmas.


Hero: Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy didn’t get full recognition at the recent BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, where he was overlooked by the public in favour of Lewis Hamilton. No such snubs on home turf though, as Rory was named RTE Sport Person of the Year this week. Turns out a prophet can be honoured in his own land  after all!

Zero: John Gilligan

IT seems that ageing gangster John Gilligan can’t keep his nose out of trouble. Exiled in the UK after a failed attempt on his life, the criminal has now managed to bring himself to police attention after verbally abusing a lawyer. I would have thought an old lag like Gilligan would have preferred to keep his head low – obviously not.