Young guns were quick to sharpen their knives for Gilmore

As senior Labour ministers took to the airwaves on Saturday to defend their party’s record and leader, conversations started taking place between its young turks on what to do about Eamon Gilmore.

Young guns were quick to sharpen  their knives  for Gilmore

His name had been coming up a lot when they knocked on doors throughout the campaign and as the votes rolled in, they saw the need for a reinvigoration of the party.

Three TDs — Gerald Nash of Louth; Dominic Hannigan of Meath East and Ciara Conway of Waterford — began making phone-calls with their colleagues scattered in constituencies across the country. They also consulted colleagues at junior ministerial rank.

Around the same time, Clare TD, Michael McNamara appeared on RTÉ television calling for a major shake-up of the front bench.

There was talk on Sunday evening of sending a letter to the party leader, outlining concerns, which included their views that he was relying too heavily on advisers and not listening to his own backbench TDs.

They decided to gather in Dublin yesterday morning. They did not have any indication when they met that Mr Gilmore was considering resigning, but after a “long discussion” the best option they felt was to open up the issue to the party membership by tabling a no-confidence motion.

Ms Conway, Mr Hannigan, Mr McNamara, Mr Nash, as well as Derek Nolan of Galway West, Aodhan O’Riordáin of Dublin North Central and Arthur Spring of Kerry North, all signed it, as did Senator John Gilroy.

“We the undersigned propose the motion that the Parliamentary Labour Party does not retain confidence in the party leader,” it said.

When this was issued, there was no way back for Gilmore. It was signed — not by an awkward squad trying to make trouble — but some TDs who would have been traditionally loyal to the leadership.

He called a meeting of his senior and junior ministers who gathered in his ministerial offices on St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, at around 2pm.

“We didn’t even get a text message — that is the disregard that was shown to us in the parliamentary party,” said one TD. “We found out by twitter. Are the parliamentary party important? Obviously not,” they said.

“This thing that he said about ringing around to gather people’s views over the weekend — he didn’t ring any of us,” said one of the younger TDs.

Mr Gilmore told a press conference at around 4pm that he had made his decision on Sunday night.

The party’s chief whip, Emmet Stagg, later told Drive Time on RTÉ Radio that the young TDs had acted prematurely and were displaying a lack of experience by issuing a no-confidence motion.

However, they hit back saying that there was an attempt being made to portray them as “flapping around making stupid decisions.” One TD said: “We spoke to senior people in the party — junior ministers — about this.”

For more in depth updates and analysis on the fallout from this year's election and access to our comprehensive results database visit our special Election 2014 section.

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