Former Labour leader and outgoing TD Ruairi Quinn has made an emotional plea for his party to fight on, saying they are a lonely tribe of visionaries and have beaten their political foes.
In an impromptu after-dinner speech to colleagues at the party’s think-in in Wicklow, the Dublin South East TD said that because socialists don’t believe in capitalism, that they “know how to fucking manage it”. His speech led to a standing ovation from party colleagues.
“I have many regrets about the mistakes we have made, but no regrets about the journey we have travelled. I am a reunconstructed [sic] socialist, I want to see this society transformed,” he said.
“We are the only country of the 28 countries of the European Union, along with Latvia, that has never had a Labour/socialist-led government, ever, since 1922.
“I want to say to you, go forward with pride, go forward with confidence, go forward with competence.
“You know, the great thing about socialists and social democrats is because we don’t believe in capitalism, we know how to fucking manage it,” he added.
“But we know it doesn’t work all of the time. It works for some things like selling chocolate bars outside Lansdowne Road or Croke Park, but in managing electricity, the nonsense of pro-competition in that area is nonsense.
“There are some things that can only be run by the State, and we should never apologise for that. And I say that to you Alex [White, the Communications Minister] and to others,” he said.
“We have been a lonely tribe of adventurers, of pioneers, of visionaries, who have said we will transform this country in a way that it never was transformed before, and we have defeated the Fine Gaelers and the Free Staters, and we have defeated the Fianna Fáilers and the nationalists, and we have brought this country into the 21st century and without the Labour Party we would not be here today,” he said.
Mr Quinn says he will not contest the next election. He is a former minister for finance and led Labour between 1997 and 2002.
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