[Eamon Gilmore and Bryan Dobson during last night’s interview on RTE One’s Six One]
Labour leader Eamon Gilmore went on RTE’s Six One last night to attempt to address concerns about his future and the prospect of a wipeout for his party in Friday’s Local and European elections.
Bryan Dobson: “Tanaiste, since the last Local Elections, I think it’s true to say that you’ve lost 20 or more local councillors who have left the Party. You’ve lost four of the TDs who were elected at the time of the last Election, and a bye-election since then. You’ve lost an MEP, who’s running now as an Independent, and one of your outgoing MEPs says that she doesn’t think you should be leader of the Party. What’s going on in Labour?”
Eamon Gilmore: “You know, it has been a difficult three years – but there are times when you have to take decisions that are in the best interests of the country – and that is what the Labour Party has done. That is why we are now recovering – and that is why, on Friday… Friday is about electing the people that will run our city and county councils and electing the best people who will represent us in Europe.
Dobson: “Why should people… how can they have faith in Labour, when so many of your own party members and elected party representatives don’t have faith in you?”
Gilmore: “Well, some haven’t – and that’s their opinion. But, let’s look at what we’ve have to do on Friday. What we have to do on Friday, is for example, elect the best representative to the European Parliament – in the Dublin constituency, for example, that is now a straight choice between… (talk over each other)
Dobson: “… We’ll find out who the candidates with many different views are on… Just a final question in relation to a bad result in the Local Elections – how worrying would that be in your organisation, as you face into the next General Election, if you were to lose, as the poll suggests today, up to half your seats?”
Gilmore: “No, I don’t think that that will be the case at all. I think that when it comes to the economy – I think that people will go out and will want to see Labour Councillors who deliver good local services who can be relied on to make good planning decisions – who are not in anybody’s pocket, who are not not representing any vested interests, but the public interest – and the same in relation to the European Parliament elections, so we send our best people and the best Labour candidates into Parliament, to be part be of the Socialist and Democrat Group and hopefully to elect a new President of…. (talk over each other)
Dobson: “Just a final question about your own role in relation to the upcoming re-shuffle – I mean… members of your own Party – your own Chairman has been saying you need to come back and take on a domestic role and focus on recovering Labour’s electoral and political positions?”
Gilmore: “That’s not about the job I hold in Government, or about any other job that anybody else holds in Government – what this Government is about, is about creating jobs for the people who don’t have jobs,or people who have gone abroad and who would like to come back and work in this country.”
Dobson: “We won’t get that just yet, perhaps? Tanaiste, thank you very much for joining us here this evening.”