Outgoing ministers address ‘emotional’ Cabinet colleagues

Gilmore tells final Cabinet meeting he has ‘no regrets’

Eamon Gilmore, former tánaiste (left)  and Taoiseach Enda Kenny. File photograph: Alan Betson/THE IRISH TIMES

Eamon Gilmore, former tánaiste (left) and Taoiseach Enda Kenny. File photograph: Alan Betson/THE IRISH TIMES

Tue, Jul 8, 2014, 13:14

Former tánaiste and Labour leader Eamon Gilmore this morning told his Cabinet colleagues he has no regrets about leading his party into Government and did so in full knowledge of the consequences.

Mr Gilmore was speaking at what is expected to be his last Cabinet meeting, with a reshuffle announcement expected tomorrow.

Sources at the meeting described it as “a little emotional”, with Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn also addressing his colleagues.

Mr Quinn last week said he will be standing down when the reshuffle is announced by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tánaiste Joan Burton. It is understood the Dublin South-East TD said he had served in three different Fine Gael-Labour Cabinets, and claimed each “saved” the country only to hand it over to Fianna Fáil-led Governments to “reap the benefit”. Mr Quinn said it was the job of he incoming Cabinet to ensure that did not happen again.

Mr Gilmore said he had no regrets about leading Labour into Coalition with Fine Gael in 2011, and said he did so “knowing the consequences”.

Talks between Ms Burton and Taoiseach Enda Kenny are ongoing today ahead of an expected announcement of a new ministerial line up tomorrow. The pair are also discussing the future direction of Government policy in the wake of disastrous local elections for Labour and ahead of October’s budget.