Kerry councillor quits Labour over ‘right wing policies’

Seán O’Grady said he had stuck with party for as long as he could

Labour and Fine Gael Ministers  receive their seals of office at Arás an Uachtaráin in March 2011. A long-time Labour councillor Seán O’Grady has quit the party and accused it of pursuing “right wing policies” in Government.  Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons.

Labour and Fine Gael Ministers receive their seals of office at Arás an Uachtaráin in March 2011. A long-time Labour councillor Seán O’Grady has quit the party and accused it of pursuing “right wing policies” in Government. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons.

 

A Kerry-based Labour councillor has resigned from the party, saying he can no longer stomach the party’s propping up of “the most right wing” Government he has ever experienced.

Seán O’Grady, mayor of Killarney until this summer and a town councillor for almost forty years, said he had tendered his resignation today to Labour Party headquarters, having stuck with the party for as long as he could.

“Senior Ministers are fond of saying they are mitigating what Fine Gael want to carry out – I find the opposite to be the case,” Cllr O’Grady said.

“Fine Gael on their own would never try out these policies and what we have are more right wing policies in this Government than any I can remember.”

Cllr O’Grady is the latest politician to leave the Labour ranks since its decision to enter Coalition with Fine Gael. The party has seen members depart at national, local and European level such as MEP Nessa Childers, former minister of state Roisin Shortall and former party chairman Colm Keaveney TD.

Among his reasons for resigning, Cllr O’Grady said, were the continous penalising of ordinary workers and those least well off while bankers were in receipt of massives salaries approved by Government.

He also criticised the spending of millions of euro on the recent referendum, which he called a populist gesture, and the abolition of the town councils across the State.

Cllr O’Grady said above all the Labour party were not longer holding to their basic principles. He had joined the party 12 years ago full of ideals and because it was then a party of principle, but Labour’s participation in Government has eroded its core priniciples.

He also said he believed a number of other councillors around the country were now considering leaving the party – he has not decided whether he will contest the next local elections for the county council area of Killarney.