Labour TDs cold on leadership change

A change in leadership would not reverse the unpopularity of the Labour Party, its TDs maintain after the latest opinion poll showed it has just 6% of popular support — its lowest in more than 25 years.

Labour TDs cold on leadership change

The result was described as “unsettling” for the parliamentary party but the widespread feeling is that a knee-jerk reaction will not get the party anywhere.

TDs said they would await the next polls, due out at the end of October after the budget — to see how bad things are for the party and whether any drastic action is needed.

There has been growing concern about Eamon Gilmore’s leadership of the party, which appears to be absorbing all the blame for the unpopular decisions made by both Labour and Fine Gael in coalition.

However, there was no appetite to replace him among party TDs.

“What we are doing in Government is not going to change because the leader changes. It is not going to change the outcome of where we are economically,” said Dublin South East TD Kevin Humphreys.

His colleague Joanna Tuffy said the latest MRBI poll has to be taken with two other polls in the past week which showed the party at 10% and 11%.

“I do think it needs to be taken seriously but I don’t think we can immediately come up with the answer to it,” she said. “I don’t think we will solve the problem by blaming the leader.”

Another TD, Ann Phelan from Kilkenny, said “some may feel” it is time to change leader but “I don’t think it’s time to change the leader at this particular stage — there is nothing to be achieved at this stage by changing the leader”.

Kerry North TD Arthur Spring said Mr Gilmore should leave the Department of Foreign Affairs to take up a domestic portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle.

Asked by Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ radio if the leader should take a cabinet position which would allow him spend more time in Ireland, Mr Spring said: “There a simple answer to that… yes.”

Research Minister Sean Sherlock said the Coalition is midway through its term and “it’s fair to say that the burden of blame has not been shared between the two parties in Government”.

The Cork East TD said: “There is a sense coming up to the local elections that a result like this will cause jitters among the party, and potential candidates.”

But he said: “We are the oldest party in the State and we are not going anywhere any time soon.”

The poll also shows a Fine Gael up two points to 26%, Fianna Fáil down four points to 22%, Sinn Féin is up two to 23%, and Independents are up three to 21%.

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