Labour politicians back Gilmore despite poll

Party struggling to get message out say TDs

Labour Party politicians have said they have faith their leader after an opinion poll showed support for the party has dropped to its lowest level in 25 years.

Speaking to the media today a number of TDs said the party had an unpopular job in trying to get the economy on track. They said the party needed show voters the positive work it was doing in Government.

The latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll shows the backing of voters for the junior Coalition party has fallen to 6 per cent, a three-point decrease since the last Irish Timesopinion poll in June.

Minister of State for research and innovation Sean Sherlock said the party would take note of the poll but would continue with its work.


“ The bottom line is we have a job to do in Government,” he said this afternoon. “Yes we do take notice of the polls, and any politician that tells you otherwise is telling fibs, and it can have a slightly demoralising effect to be honest about it at a human level, but I still have to get up out of bed in the morning and I still have to turn this country around and be part of that.”

Mr Sherlock added: "There's no issue around leadership here, I understand that people are asking the question when there's such a dip in the polls but to my mind there's only one boss and that's Eamon Gilmore. Full stop."

Carlow Kilkenny TD Anne Phelan warned that the party would ignore the results of the poll "at its peril". But she added that people seem to forget how badly the economy was performing when Labour entered Government.

“We cannot ignore the polls and I think there is a bit of a wake-up call for Labour. We must try to increase our support we must keep our support we must build on it,” she told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

The poll showed satisfaction levels for the Tánaiste continue the downward trend of the past two years. Some 15 per cent of respondents said they are satisfied with the Labour Party leader, while 65 per cent expressed dissatisfaction.

Referring to the current term of Government, Ms Phelan said the party was only “half way into the match at this stage”, adding, “I don’t think it’s time to change the leader”.

Kerry North-West Limerick TDArthur Spring also endorsed Mr Gilmore's leadership but said the party leader should leave the Department of Foreign Affairs to take up a domestic portfolio in the next cabinet reshuffle.

Asked by Sean O'Rourke on RTÉ radio's Today Show whether Mr Gilmore should take a cabinet position which would see him spend more time in Ireland, Mr Spring said: "There a simple answer to that… yes."

Meanwhile, Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin admitted "it's not a good poll" for his party. "There's no point in saying anything else."

Speaking to reporters in Dublin, he said he didn’t expect support to increase until the economy showed tangible signs of recovery. “Until we see that recovery putting money back into people’s pockets…I don’t think we’ll see a significant rise for us.”

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin

Dan Griffin is an Irish Times journalist