Sir, – Why is Brendan O’Reilly of Mountmellick (June 28th) so exercised by the questioning by Labour TDs of the party leadership’s reneging on promises they gave to the electorate at the last general election?
His constituency of Laois/Offaly did not return a Labour TD – a mere 5,800 out of an electorate of 106,312 gave Labour a first preference at the last general election. Labour has not had a TD in the area since the death of William Davin in 1956.
If we were to go along with Mr O’Reilly’s demand regarding anyone elected under the Labour banner who went back on the promises contained in its election manifesto, then surely the dissidents would not be the only TDs obliged to resign and offer themselves for re-election.
The core issue for Colm Keaveney, Willie Penrose, Róisín Shortall, Tommy Broughan, Patrick Nulty, Nessa Childers and others, is that Labour in government is breaking specific commitments it made to the electorate. They do not accept Pat Rabbitte’s assertion that campaign promises are meaningless, or, Brendan Howlin’s premise that such commitments are rendered void because Labour did not get an overall majority.
For a TD to vote against the party, and face being cast out and shunned by those once regarded as colleagues and fellow believers, is far from being the spineless act of a spolied child as Mr O’Reilly claims.
To oppose your party when you consider it is reneging on core principles is surely the test of true courage and moral conviction. Only the bravest will sacrifice the comfort of the crowd and the cosy patronage of the party system. TDs of integrity are least likely to comply with duplicity, double-speak and the abandonment of principle. – Yours, etc,