'Labour will remain in Coalition'

 

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has insisted the Labour Party will stay the course in Government and will not be deflected from taking necessary decisions by the defection of some TDs.

Mr Gilmore said the key issue for Labour was whether the party should be in Government or outside it in Opposition. “I believe we should be in Government to shape the future in accordance with the principles of the Labour Party,” he said in an interview last night.

He defended the role of the Economic Management Council (EMC), made up of himself, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin.

“This is a war cabinet whose job it is to steer economic policy and to ensure there is joined-up government but Government decisions are made by the full Cabinet,” he insisted.

However, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney yesterday said he was unhappy that Cabinet members not in the EMC were not more involved in the preparation of the budget.

Call to step down


Mr Gilmore repeated his call to party chairman Colm Keaveney to step down following his Dáil vote against the Government on the Social Welfare Bill. Dublin Mid-West TD Joanna Tuffy also called on him to step down.

Mr Keaveney last night insisted he would remain as chairman and said he continued to enjoy the support of the party’s grassroots.

“I’m chair of the Labour Party. It would be profoundly anti-democratic and against the values of the Labour Party to overturn the decision of members,” he said.

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