Third high-profile Labour Party representative defects this week
Fingal councillor Cian O’Callaghan claims Labour policies in Government unfair and unjust
Cian O’Callaghan: Labour in government has “broken steadfast election commitments”. Photograph : Matt Kavanagh
High-profile Fingal county councillor Cian O’Callaghan has announced that he is resigning from the Labour Party over its “unfair and unjust policies” in government.
Mr O’Callaghan said in a statement to The Irish Times yesterday that Labour in government had “broken steadfast election commitments, implemented unfair and unjust policies and made choices that have benefited the rich and powerful at a huge cost to everyone else”.
His resignation brings to three the number of elected representatives who have resigned from the party over 48 hours.
The MEP for the East constituency Nessa Childers left the party on Tuesday, and the Meath county councillor Jenny McHugh defected to Fianna Fáil on the same day.
Mr O’Callaghan was mayor of Fingal last year, having been first elected in 2009. He was seen as a rising star in the party and a possible Dáil candidate. However, he has been publicly critical of Coalition policy over the past two years, criticising the household charge and calling for the resignation of Minister for Health James Reilly.
His list of criticism includes a tough approach to families struggling against home repossession as well as the pursuit of what he said was the “Dutch model of healthcare privatisation”.
“The introduction of two budgets in a row that actually increased income inequality by targeting people on low and middle incomes was deeply unjust,” said Mr O’Callaghan, who said he would be part of an effort in the coming months to establish a credible left alternative to the Government.
“This must be based on the core values of reducing income inequality; promoting not for profit models of healthcare and childcare; investing in education; and ensuring that our taxation model is fair and just.”