Opportunist Nulty should rejoin Labour or resign as a TD


OPINION:IT IS only a few weeks ago that, along with thousands of other residents of Dublin West, I voted for Patrick Nulty as a Labour politician to strengthen the party’s hand in government. That is why it is so disappointing that he has turned his coat already.

In the Dublin West byelection I voted Labour to support the sitting TD Joan Burton and to bolster the party for the tough decisions it would have to take in office. It was also a gesture of support for the Fine Gael-Labour Coalition which I expect to show integrity and leadership as well as getting us out of the current mess.

Outside the constituency, the result was deemed a triumph for a “Government” candidate winning a byelection. The Socialist Party polled well and Fianna Fáil sold itself successfully on the Brian Lenihan vote. Fine Gael lost the opportunity to bring in a strong candidate from outside the constituency. Sinn Féin lost its way in the battle for the left and Labour selected the youthful Nulty.

In retrospect, perhaps I should have noted the warning signs from the Labour candidate during the campaign, but I believed then that he was distancing himself from the Fine Gael side of the Government – not from the policies of his Labour colleagues.

Patrick Nulty is revealed now as an opportunist, a Labour TD elected under the party name and through the toil of party workers. He now demands that the party plays to his tune and not that of the elected leadership.

Joining a party in government as a TD is a commitment to support that party and working from within for change.

We are facing our greatest economic crisis and we need a strong and united Labour Party to play its part in getting us out of it. Ideology is for yesterday.

To govern is akin to walking on a tightrope. It requires clear direction, steady strides and the ability to counter the balances and pulls from all directions. It is about assuming responsibility as an individual representative politician, telling the unpalatable truth to constituents – that we spend more than we earn as a nation – with the result that service restrictions and cutbacks are inevitable.

Fianna Fáil set up a national economic model which has failed. It cannot pay for itself. Is this the economic standard that Nulty supports?

Why isn’t he addressing the salaries above EU norms paid to doctors, nurses and teachers? Or the bizarre issues of increments in the public service or the featherbedding of staff salaries in the ESB and other semi-States?

He is now an Independent TD, having lost the Labour whip.

It is time for him to reflect on his options – to apply for the whip and to rejoin his Labour colleagues bravely facing the challenges of government or to resign as a TD because his election was based on a falsehood, declared to the electorate of Dublin 15, that he was a Labour Party TD.

Billy Linehan is an independent management consultant, tweets @BillyLinehan