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gilmore’s Rocky road

Eamon Gilmore’s announcement that he was throwing in the towel as Labour Leader was the final act in a slow slide out of his job.

Banana skins along his route as he became Tanaiste after the general election of 2011, with a record 37 Labour TDs, included:

l The Gilmore for Taoiseach’ catchphrase during the campaign returned to haunt him as his winning aura began to dim.

l His appointment of the old guard’ party figures to the cabinet rankled with younger members of the party.

l The resignation of Junior Health Minister Roisin Shortall seriously damaged his standing with Labour’s grassroots as he refused to support her in her criticism of Health Minister James Reilly.

l He was forced to swallow his campaign declaration of Frankfurt’s way or Labour’s way’ as he and his colleagues capitulated to pressure not to burn the bank debt bond holders.

l Party chairman Colm 
Keaveney jumped ship in June 2013 and later joined Fianna Fail last December.

l The Government’s hairshirt’ Budgets increased the ire of the anti-austerity campaigners.

l His decision to close the Irish embassy at the Vatican 
was viewed negatively by a 
significant number of churchgoers here.

l He endured sharp criticism within Labour for being “out of touch” with events in Ireland amid calls for him to relinquish his globe-trotting Foreign 
Affairs role.

l The government’s introduction of a property tax was seen as a betrayal of his party’s election promises.

l Similarly, the imposition of water charges by the coalition government undermined his party’s natural support base.

l He was continually criticised for not being assertive enough in protecting Labour policies in government.

l Mr Gilmore’s strong backing of unpopular Justice Minister Alan Shatter continued even after the controversial Fine Gael politician had decided to resign..

l Labour’s dismal election performance this weekend, was the final nail in the Mr Gilmore’s coffin.