Gilmore bullish about Labour’s election chances

Tánaiste opens party conference with attack on Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin

Tanaiste and Labour Party leader  Eamon Gilmore: said Labour always had the courage to face up to a crisis and do what needed to be done

Tanaiste and Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore: said Labour always had the courage to face up to a crisis and do what needed to be done

Sat, Feb 15, 2014, 13:29

Labour can enter next May’s European and local elections with a degree of confidence, Tánaiste and party leader Eamon Gilmore has said.

Addressing delegates at the opening of today’s party conference in Enfield, Co Meath, Mr Gilmore said Labour in government had already achieved the first phase of economic recovery.

“We have taken the country out of the bailout, and we will not take any guff from Fianna Fáil, who put the country into the bailout in the first place, or from Sinn Féin who have daft economic policies,’’ he added.

To applause from delegates, Mr Gilmore said Labour always had the courage to face up to a crisis and do what needed to be done.

“We have shown that over the past three years and I am confident we will show it again in the forthcoming local and European elections,’’ he added.

Mr Gilmore said he did not know how many times the party had been told it was not possible to emerge from the bailout and create jobs.

“We have done it,’’ he said. “If politics is the art of the possible, then Labour is the specialist in doing the impossible and let us do it again.’’

Mr Gilmore spoke of the progress made in job creation and education, “taking children out of the cold, damp prefabs that Fianna Fáil left them, even in the good years when money was plentiful’’.

He said that for Labour, economic recovery was not just about indicators but what it did for the lives of people.

Wicklow councillor Ronan McManus told the conference social media should be used more to create a greater sense of community in towns throughout the State.

He said there had been many changes in towns throughout the State and “not all for the better”. Increased traffic congestion and parking problems, a loss of a sense of community, bad planning and a decoupling of where people lived and worked, were now features of Irish life.

“We, as councillors, must address these problems in a new and innovative way, and I believe that technology can be used to alleviate at least some of them,’’ he added.

Mr McManus said the loss of a sense of community in towns had been replaced by an increased engagement in online community. There was now an opportunity, he added, to harness those very powerful tools to impact on societal problems.

Recently, he said, there had been the near demise of the traditional residents association. The regeneration of the link between communities and councils, through the use of online groups and discussion groups, should be promoted, he added.

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