Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has attempted to turn what was widely regarded as the gaffe of the last election to his advantage by declaring that Labour’s way and not Frankfurt’s way will prevail once Ireland exits the EU-International Monetary Fund bailout.
“The troika leaving is Labour’s way – Frankfurt’s way was having the troika still with us,” said Mr Gilmore yesterday. Asked about whether the Government would work to have a back-up line of credit available when Ireland exits the bailout on December 15th, Mr Gilmore said that still has to be decided on.
“We are in the fortunate position that the State is now well-funded as we’re about to exit the bailout – the precise way of how that will happen and the precise arrangements made with the lending bodies is something the Government has yet to make a decision on.”
Mr Gilmore was speaking in Cork where he presented Dan and Linda Kiely of Vox Pro with the Cork Business People of the Year Award for 2013.
Mr Gilmore said he was happy to continue in the Department of Foreign Affairs and insisted his work there was vital to economic recovery.
Some Labour Party members have suggested a domestic Cabinet post would be more suitable for the party leader. “I’m very happy with what I’m doing and what I’m doing is central to this country’s economic recovery,” said Mr Gilmore, adding it was essential Ireland’s reputation be restored internationally.
“When we came into government 2½ years ago, we were referred to as one of the Piigs, our reputation was in tatters but we had to restore that. That was primarily my job as Minister for Foreign Affairs and I’m very glad we have restored it,” he said.
"The work that my department does and the State agencies do is critical to the economic performance of this country and I reject entirely any suggestion that it's somehow not a domestic issue and that it's not related to the success of the economy."
He said he had never been under any illusions about the difficult job faced by Labour in government. “At the end of the day, I don’t believe that the Irish electorate will punish the Labour Party and reward Fianna Fáil who got us into this situation.”
Asked about the recent resignations of Labour Party public representatives in Wicklow, Dublin and Kerry, Mr Gilmore paid tribute to those who had opted to remain with the party through what he conceded were difficult decisions.