Tánaiste denies his leadership is under threat

Gilmore says he has excellent rapport with Burton

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore at the  Labour Party think-in in Enfield, Co Meath, yesterday.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore at the Labour Party think-in in Enfield, Co Meath, yesterday. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 20:31


Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has played down speculation his position is under threat, insisting he will lead the party into the next general election.

Speaking at the Labour think-in in Enfield, Co Meath, yesterday, the Tánaiste said he believed the party’s poor showing in opinion polls would not be replicated in an election.

“One of the big lessons to be learned from what the previous government was responsible for was that they looked at opinion polls and made short-term decisions based on what the last opinion poll told them,” he said.

“In Government, the Labour Party is looking at ensuring this country recovers and when a real election is held I think the Irish people will not, as some opinion polls appear to be suggesting, reward the party that got us into the crisis and punish the party that solved it.”

There has been increased speculation that Mr Gilmore’s leadership is under pressure from within the party, and his deputy leader, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, has regularly been identified as one of those allegedly seeking his removal.

The two yesterday answered questions from the media together and sat side-by-side for a group photograph at the parliamentary party meeting.

The Tánaiste said he and Ms Burton had an “excellent” rapport.

‘Good supporter’

Ms Burton said she had a “very good” working relationship with Mr Gilmore and that she was “happy supporting” him. “Eamon has been a very good supporter to me in my job as deputy leader and Minister and I have been a very good supporter of Eamon in his job as leader of the Labour Party and Tánaiste,” she said.

In his address to the conference, Mr Gilmore insisted that “by any standards, Labour has done a good job in Government”.

Highlighting the party’s achievements since entering government – such as legislating for the X Case, passing the children’s rights referendum and reforming Freedom of Information laws – Mr Gilmore said that “once again, Labour is modernising Ireland”.

“I am determined that we will stay the course, and complete the job of recovery that we have undertaken.”