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Gilmore feels heat as voters deliver change


Former Education Minister Mary Hanafin speaking to the media at the Dublin West by-election count.

Former Education Minister Mary Hanafin speaking to the media at the Dublin West by-election count.


Former Education Minister Mary Hanafin speaking to the media at the Dublin West by-election count.

EMBATTLED Eamon Gilmore has just 72 hours to save his leadership after another Labour politician called for him to resign.

Deputy Michael McNamara launched a scathing attack on Mr Gilmore and other Labour ministers who he said are out of touch with the electorate.

Mr McNamara told the

He made his remarks as Sinn Fein made sweeping seat gains in Dublin and around the country.

But junior minister Kathleen Lynch has lent her support to Mr Gilmore.


“I do believe that we have to take a more fundamental look at what has happened, rather than, you know, change the leader, change the leader, change the leader,” she said.

“I think it’s more than that,” Ms Lynch added, speaking on RTE radio’s Morning Ireland.

The minister said that the party would have to consider what the electorate had said about the current Government.

Mr Gilmore now has until Wednesday evening to convince his colleagues he can save Labour from the political abyss after the party suffered one of its most humiliating defeats in its history.

The Tanaiste was today holding showdown talks with Taoiseach Enda Kenny as some of his closest supporters openly discussed the prospect of a leadership heave.

But the decision of another Labour politician to call for him to go may be the final nail in his coffin.

“This leadership is out of touch. There is no point being in government if we are just making up he numbers,” Clare-TD Mr McNamara told the

Meanwhile, the Labour leader contacted Mr Kenny early yesterday and warned that he is under “extraordinary pressure” to ensure a renegotiation of the Programme for Government.


But for the first time since Mr Gilmore took over the leadership, even his closest supporters within the parliamentary party conceded that his position is in “serious doubt”.

A number of TDs and senators have discussed the prospect of a heave over the past two days after deputy leader Joan Burton refused to rule out being the instigator.

Meanwhile, Labour ministers will now demand that a new Programme for Government focusses on medical card and housing in a bid to convince a meeting of the party on Wednesday that Mr Gilmore’s position is secure.

The disastrous results for Labour came as the political landscape in Dublin underwent a radical shift as a result of a surge of support for Sinn Fein and other left wing candidates.

In Dublin West - a former Labour stronghold - the party’s vote collapsed in what was a humiliating defeat for by-election candidate and Labour chairperson Loraine Mulligan.

Ms Mulligan was beaten into seventh place by the Green Party despite being shown strong support by Joan Burton during the campaign.

The Socialist Party has now doubled its representation in the Dail following an impressive victory by Ruth Coppinger in the Dublin West by-election.

Labour Lord Mayor Oisin Quinn crashed out and was followed by one of his predecessors, Fine Gael’s Gerry Breen.