Sexton 'flattered' by Labour invitation


LABOUR WAS the only party “offering any future for the country”, former Progressive Democrat TD Mae Sexton said at a joint news conference with Labour leader Eamon Gilmore yesterday.

Labour’s newest recruit, who lost her Dáil seat in the Longford-Westmeath constituency in the last general election, said she was “very flattered” to be invited to join the party.

“It didn’t take me too long to make up my mind, my family has a great tradition in the labour movement,” she told reporters at Leinster House.

Asked how she could make the transition from the Progressive Democrats to the Labour Party, given the ideological gap, Ms Sexton said: “First of all, I didn’t, because the Progressive Democrats no longer exist.

“Secondly, the economic circumstances that prevail today are completely different to what they were, even five years ago.

“But apart from all of that, I’ve never got myself hung up on theoretical ideologies, I’m about delivery, I’m about honesty, transparency, I’m about community, and that’s what every TD in the House should be about.”

Claiming that the country was in a state of “chassis”, Ms Sexton, who was elected to Longford County Council as an independent last year, said: “The economic circumstances have all changed and I believe that the Labour Party is the only party offering any future for the country.”

She added: “I believe the wastage, the greed, the recklessness that has occurred has had everybody rethinking what they now believe in and I believe the Labour Party is giving hope to people.

“It’s an option, it’s an opportunity for people to show how badly they feel and I think people are getting up every morning, terrified of what they are going to hear next. “

Later, she told RTÉ’s News at One programme: “I would never have a word said against Mary Harney personally, or Michael McDowell, who delivered for the constituency when they listened to the case that I put to them for Longford.”

Mr Gilmore told the Leinster House news conference that Cllr Sexton would be seeking a nomination as general election candidate for the Longford-Westmeath constituency. “I have known Mae for some time, she is an outstanding public representative for Longford. She was very effective when she served here in the Dáil.”

Labour’s objective was to win two seats in the constituency next time. “The Labour Party is expanding its organisation and its candidate-base throughout the country,” he said.

The party’s objective was to “have representation from every county in Ireland in the next Dáil”.

The sitting Labour TD for the constituency, Willie Penrose, said: “I’m delighted. This is a very important day for the Labour Party and its development throughout Longford-Westmeath.”

Mae Sexton was a Progressive Democrat TD from 2002–2007.