Nessa Childers leaves parliamentary Labour party

Ireland East MEP says she has not been satisfied with party policy for some time

 Nessa Childers arriving with Liz Mc Manus at the European Count East Constituency, Punchestown in 2009. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Nessa Childers arriving with Liz Mc Manus at the European Count East Constituency, Punchestown in 2009. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

Labour MEP Nessa Childers has resigned from the Labour parliamentary party, saying she does not want to support a Government that is hurting people.

Ms Childers, who represents the Ireland East constituency, will join other Labour members who have left the party whip in opposition.

Ms Childers said she will continue to be a member of the Labour Party.

A Labour spokesman said the resignation does not come as a major surprise to the party. "She has been semi-detached for some time now, so it's not exactly a bolt out of the blue," he said. "It seems some people are more comfortable with the Labour Party in opposition."

In a statement released this morning, Ms Childers said she has not been satisfied with the party for some time.

“I entered politics to help people, and am now resigning from the PLP because I no longer want to support a government that is actually hurting people,” she said. “My dissatisfaction with the party in government has been known for some time; however recent statements from the Labour Ministers have dismayed me. They continue to insist that because of the dire economic situation there is no alternative to current government policies.”

Ms Childers, who left the Green Party in 2008 to run for Labour in the European elections in 2009, questioned how long other Labour politicians would continue the party line.

“It is predicted that Ireland will have to experience tight budgets for the foreseeable future, long after we exit the bail-out programme. My question is will this Government continue with business as usual and ignore the lack of fairness across government policy,” she said in her statement.

“The party leadership’s strategy of attacking people who are loyal to the party’s stated policies; coupled with their objection to a special party conference and objection to renegotiating the Programme for Government signals that they is completely cut off from the concerns of the party members and Labour party ideals and values.”

The resignation comes after last week’s Meath East byelection in which the Labour candidate, Eoin Holmes, finished in fifth place after receiving just 4.5 per cent of the vote.

Irish Labour Party MEPs are members of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), which includes Labour Party TDs, Senators and MEPs and meets once a week to discuss party policy in the Dáil and the Seanad.

Labour Party members who have lost the whip are expelled from the PLP but retain party membership. MEPS are not bound by a national party whip.

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