Labour integrity untouched by tribunals, says Gilmore
LABOUR COULD take pride in the fact that, after two decades of tribunals, there was no question about its integrity, party leader Eamon Gilmore said yesterday.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade was speaking to reporters in advance of this weekend’s party conference in Galway, which marks 100 years since Labour’s foundation. “We can take a great deal of pride,” he said, in the fact that, “in two decades of tribunals, no fault has been found with the Labour Party”.
“It will be a significant conference for two reasons. It is the first time in 15 years that the Labour Party is in Government. Secondly, it marks the foundation of the party,” Mr Gilmore said.
He was asked whether there would be a “forest of placards”, as he predicted there would be when Labour agreed to join the Coalition. “We were under no illusion about the challenge, the job of work we were facing. We’re functioning in circumstances that are not a surprise to us.”
On reports there would be many protesters present, he said: “People have permission to protest – it is a democratic right.”
When it was pointed out none of the more critical motions on the conference programme were set to feature in parts of the debates to be televised, he said: “I have nothing to do with that.”
Former Waterford TD Brian O’Shea is running again for the post of party chair, against Galway deputies Colm Keaveney and Derek Nolan. The Tánaiste declined to say which of these candidates he was supporting. “I’m told it is a very interesting and close contest.”
Three TDs no longer in the parliamentary party, Willie Penrose, Tommy Broughan and Patrick Nulty, are expected to attend, but Mr Gilmore said: “They remain party members: they just don’t have the whip.”
The referendum on the EU fiscal treaty would “clearly” be a major topic at the conference, he said. “It is hugely important that this referendum is passed.”
He said both Government parties would campaign actively and said Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton had been appointed director of Labour’s campaign.
The conference takes place over three days from this evening at Bailey Allen Hall in NUI Galway. A debate on “Jobs, Reform, Fairness” will be broadcast live on RTÉ One television tomorrow from 11am to 1pm. Mr Gilmore’s speech is on the same channel tomorrow from 8.30pm to 9pm.
FOR DEBATE KEY MOTIONS:
* Call on Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn to end “unfair” public subsidy of private schools (Tallaght branch)
* Prioritise establishment of new children’s hospital (Dublin Northeast constituency council)
* Re-open Vatican embassy (Tuam branch)
* Promote job creation by “ending austerity measures” (Sutton/Baldoyle branch)
* No public sector pension should exceed the average industrial wage (Thomas J O’Connell branch, Mayo)