Another blow for Labour as councillor quits party

In a further blow to the Labour party, one of the country’s longest-serving town councillors yesterday announced he is leaving the party.

Another  blow for Labour as councillor quits party

Sean O’Grady, five-time mayor of Killarney, Co Kerry, said his reasons for resigning were many, but primarily due to the “inability of the party to effect basic principles of the party.”

He said while bankers were still receiving “princely salaries and pensions,” the vast majority of ordinary workers’ wages and salaries had been seriously raided and reduced.

Mr O’Grady, a member of Killarney Town Council since 1974, was formerly in the Workers’ Party and joined Labour 12 years ago.

He will now be an independent councillor and said he was, as yet, undecided on whether to contest the 2014 election to Kerry County Council.

In a strongly-worded resignation letter to Labour general secretary Ita McAuliffe, he said it was important for him to salvage some degree of political ideology he had believed in throughout his life.

He said when the Government came to power, people had a reasonable expectation of a new and different approach and a fairer system of government.

“What ensued was that those with the least paid the most and continue to do so,” he stated.

He disagreed with Labour ministers’ claims that the situation would be more draconian if Labour were not in government.

“I believe the opposite to be the case, that Fine Gael on their own wouldn’t ‘try it on’ on their own,” Mr O’Grady said.

But, Labour ministers were eternally at the forefront of announcements of cuts and bad news, he said.

“Labour are ‘manna’ to Fine Gael. There are more right-wing proposals and policies emanating from this Government than any I can remember, and Labour have assisted magnificently in this regard,” he claimed.

Describing the defeat of the referendum to abolish the Seanad as “a fiasco that need never have happened,’’ he said if Labour had diverted the abolition proposal to a constitutional convention, the “stupidity and embarrassment” that followed would have been avoided.

Mr O’Grady bitterly opposed the decision to abolish town councils and criticised Environment Minister Phil Hogan for refusing to meet a delegation from his council on the issue.

He concluded his resignation letter by stating: “I had hoped over the past year and a half that someone in the parliamentary party would come to the fore and shout stop, a few did, but then only in very confined ways.”

More in this section

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence


Have the Irish Examiner delivered to your door. No delivery charge. Just pay the cover price.