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‘A man of integrity, courage and conviction’ as Labour left in shock

Senior politicians have expressed both their sadness and regret at the resignation of Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore as leader of the Labour Party.

Enda Kenny described him as a man of integrity, courage and conviction and thanked him for his “outstanding service,” to the country.

“Eamon Gilmore and the Labour Party have been courageous in making the collective decisions that have pulled Ireland back from the brink of economic collapse and put the country on the path towards recovery,” said Mr Kenny.

He also said that Mr Gilmore, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, had been “pivotal” in restoring the country’s international reputation which led to foreign investment and the creation of jobs.

“He is a man of integrity, courage and conviction,” added Mr Kenny.

Deputy Labour leader and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton thanked the outgoing leader for his work in the party but did not respond to questions about the possibility of her running for leadership of the party.

service

“I just want to, first of all, thank Eamon for all his service to the party and then we’ll be meeting the parliamentary party on Wednesday,” said Ms Burton.

His predecessor and Minister for Communications, Pat Rabbitte, believes the Tanaiste took the right decision in resigning as leader of the party after the national Labour wipe-out in the local elections.

“He has taken the honourable decision today. He has made a very valuable contribution to the Labour Party and I believe him when he says he will continue to do that in the years ahead,” said Mr Rabbitte.

Mr Gilmore said his reason for resigning was that the party needing renewal and a change at the “microphone,” would facilitate that.

sadness

Other party colleagues expressed their sadness for his resignation, with Education Minister Ruairi Quinn (inset right) saying, “I’m very sorry to see him going.”

The Wexford TD said he had spoken to his colleague over the weekend and that he respects his decision.“I’m sad, of course I’m sad. I think Eamon considered things, I spoke to him, he considered things over the weekend and came to his decision and I respect him very much for it.

“He has been a fantastic leader and he’s going to stay on in politics,” Mr Quinn said.

Labour Party whip Emmet Stag also expressed his sadness at Mr Gilmore’s departure.

“I’m very sorry that he found it necessary to go. It was entirely his own decision,” Mr Stagg said.

The party whip, however, was highly critical of the motion of no confidence tabled by back bench Labour TDs in Mr Gilmore’s leadership yesterday morning.

“The current leader should be given the space to make his own decision,” said the whip.

“Some younger members of the party, who weren’t aware of all that and haven’t much experience of these types of thing, they tabled a motion of no confidence with the current leader which is a pity I think,” stated Mr Stagg.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, in reacting to the resignation, said this was not about personalities but politics.

He did acknowledge that it had been a difficult day for the Tanaiste.

“They [the electorate] have rejected the brutal agenda of relentless austerity, taking medical cards from sick children, water taxes and cuts to the most vulnerable.

change

“What is required is a change of political direction and a change of Government,” said Mr Adams.

Mr Gilmore took to Twitter to thank all of his party members for their hard work over the last three years.

jfegan@herald.ie


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