Labour MEP Phil Prendergast, who generated a political storm by calling on Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore to step down as Labour leader, said she had no regrets about highlighting the ineffective leadership that had damaged the party.
The Clonmel based MEP stood over her decision to call on Gilmore to be replaced as party leader ahead of next month’s European elections.
“It had to be said. I was just reflecting what many in the party are thinking and what people on the doorsteps are saying every day,” insisted MEP Prendergast.
Her public stance on the leadership, which has been supported by some Labour TDs, has put enormous pressure on Eamon Gilmore who met Phil Prendergast in Dublin on Tuesday, forty eight hours after she accused him of being unaware “that the party is heading towards wipeout,”
“We are getting hammered on the doorsteps and yet Eamon Gilmore adopts a low profile approach. It is the inertia of this present leadership that will be the nail in the coffin” she added.
In her move against Eamon Gilmore, made after an opinion poll placed Labour on a national rating of just 6%, Phil Prendergast said that Eamon Gilmore should be replaced by Joan Burton as party leader and insisted that such a move was necessary for the future of the party.
Minister Burton described Phil Prendergast as “a person of substance” but said that there was no leadership challenge and that she backed Eamon Gilmore as leader
Phil Prendergast said she had held fire for some time but that Mr. Gilmore’s role in Labour’s European election campaign was “virtually non existent”.
She said this was very unfair on the grassroots members of the party and also on the people who had put their names forward for election in the local and European elections on behalf of the party.
“Whatever happens in the elections it will not be the fault of the people working on the ground. So many people are disappointed with Eamon Gilmore as Labour and with Labour’s performance”, she said.