Labour TDs round on chairman for remarks critical of party

TD says Keaveney should not lecture those ‘loyal to party and country ’

Labour TDs have rebuked party chairman Colm Keaveney TD for remarks critical of the party in advance of Wednesday's Meath East byelection.

Mr Keaveney, on his blog, has accused the party of failing to make any progress on policy issues, including upward-only rents, despite the sterling work and commitment of many backbenchers.

“The next tough decision demanded of Labour TDs seems likely to be the passing of an Act to enable the seizure of family homes by the banks,’’ he added.

The Galway East TD, who is outside of the parliamentary party but remains a party member, also referred to Tánaiste and party leader Eamon Gilmore 's remark that gay marriage was the civil rights issue of the generation. Those were not the issues, said Mr Keaveney, that were leaving many families and individuals worrying over how to pay their bills and raise their children with dignity.


“Unfinished estates and the fairness and objectivity of the new property tax, and the failure to adequately address both, will become an issue that will haunt both Government parties,’’ he added.

The remarks by Mr Keaveney, who is seen to be in an irreversible collision course with the leadership, angered his former parliamentary party colleagues yesterday. A senior party source said it was “crazy and very unhelpful’’ to express such views as the party was canvassing for byelection candidate Eoin Holmes.

Cork South-West TD Michael McCarthy said party members who had voted to go into government knew that entering a coalition was not about winning a popularity contest but getting the economy back in order.

“People are finding it very difficult at the moment, but the tax base has to be broadened to restore our economic sovereignty,’’ he added. “People who cannot stand the pressure involved should not lecture those who are loyal to party and country.’’

Michael O'Regan

Michael O'Regan

Michael O’Regan is a former parliamentary correspondent of The Irish Times