Labour to honour members who said no to corruption

Labour will this weekend pay tribute to its councillors and party members who ignored corrupt bribes during the 1980s and 1990s and which were exposed by the Mahon Tribunal.

The party will use its Galway conference to present the Larkin Thirst for Justice award to former party councillor Frank Buckley, who was group leader in Dublin County Council during the period.

However, the award is also recognition of those who steered clear of corrupt planning during the period, including former councillors Joan Burton, Eamon Gilmore, Eamon Tuffy, and Sean Ryan among others.

A number of controversial motions will also be brought by delegates. One on the Vatican will call for the reopening of the embassy in recognition that Ireland as a small economy can benefit from engaging at international crossroads and also “in recognition of the great affinity that so many people have with their Catholic religion”.

A motion will be brought calling for a third rate of tax for those earning over €100,000 while a separate one will call on Education Minister Ruairi Quinn to remove state-backed subventions for private schools.

Security will be increased for this year’s conference and, unlike 2010’s event at the city’s NUI Galway college campus, attendees will be asked to present their identification well ahead of reaching the main building on the grounds.

“We saw what happened at Fine Gael’s ard fheis, so forewarned is forearmed,” said one party source.

Protestors against the household charge and cutbacks are expected to march on the college grounds on Saturday afternoon, while a separate protest will be held by others opposed to a proposed ban on turf-cutting earlier in the day.

Gardaí are also expected to be positioned outside a number of hotels and venues where Labour members are expected to stay overnight.

A vote on a new chairperson for Labour will be held on Saturday afternoon, a position being contested between former Waterford TD Brian O’Shea and newly elected Galway TDs Colm Keaveney and Derek Nolan. This will be decided between the party’s 900 or so delegates among the 2,000 members expected to attend the conference.

ICTU general secretary David Begg will give a warm-up speech ahead of Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore’s address on Saturday.

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