Burton appoints Gilmore lieutenant to key party role

David Leach takes up general secretary post

Tánaiste Joan Burton: appointed David Leach, one of Eamon Gilmore’s key lieutenants, to a key role in the Labour Party.

Tánaiste Joan Burton: appointed David Leach, one of Eamon Gilmore’s key lieutenants, to a key role in the Labour Party.

 

Tánaiste Joan Burton has appointed one of Eamon Gilmore’s key lieutenants to the most senior full time position within Labour, with a focus on election planning and political strategy.

David Leach, the new Labour general secretary, will also be expected to provide a public face for the party and communicate its message as distinct from the message of the Coalition.

Mr Leach has spent six years working for Labour on a full time basis, initially as national organiser while the party was in Opposition before switching to the role of political director when it entered Government in 2011.

He was part of Mr Gilmore’s inner team and was one of two advisers retained by Ms Burton when she took over as leader.

Mr Leach will move up to the position of general secretary, and the role will have a major focus on political strategy and planning for the next general election.

He takes over from Ita McAuliffe, whom Ms Burton’s spokesman paid tribute to last night for helping the party achieve its best ever election result in 2011.

“David will be expected to carry on Ita’s good work,” the spokesman said.

Mr Leach (42), who is originally from Cork but lives with his wife and two children in Rush, Co Dublin, has been a Labour member for 25 years. He is also well known in camogie circles in north county Dublin.

He will also be expected to provide a strong alternative view to party ministers and TDs. Sources previously said a political “big beast” would be appointed to provide “an alternative intellectual centre” and “tell it like it is to the Tánaiste’s Cabinet”.

There is a tradition of junior Coalition partners having an outspoken figure to outline the party’s position, as independent from the Government position.

It is understood the job was filled without competition.