Keaveney victory a rebuff to leadership


PARTY CHAIRMAN:THE VICTORY of Galway East TD Colm Keaveney in the contest for party chairmanship was viewed as a rebuff to the leadership.

The two other candidates, outgoing chairman and former Waterford TD Brian O’Shea and Galway West TD Derek Nolan, would be seen as closer to the party hierarchy.

Mr Keaveney had a 29-vote majority over Mr Nolan, 357 votes to 328, following Mr O’Shea’s elimination.

Mr Keaveney, a former Siptu official, received strong support from trade union delegates and those who believe the party should have a higher profile in coalition.

Although a staunch defender of the party, Mr Keaveney is outspoken and considered to have a strained relationship with constituency colleague Senator Lorraine Higgins, who was appointed to the Seanad by Tánaiste and party leader Eamon Gilmore.

Denying he was an anti-establishment figure in the party, Mr Keaveney said yesterday there was no time in Labour to talk about internal dissent.

“Our priority is to restore the economic fortunes of the country and to get people back to work.

“I have argued for some time that if we cannot persuade Labour members about what we are doing, then we have little or no chance of persuading the country.”