Burton wishes Gilmore success

Tánaiste Joan Burton has defended her decision not to support the reappointment of her predecessor, Eamon Gilmore, to Cabinet following his claims he was “shot at dawn” when removed as leader of the Labour Party.

Burton wishes Gilmore success

Ms Burton last night also said that she hoped his book would be a bestseller after his “sterling” work for the party. This was despite controversial revelations in Mr Gilmore’s memoir this week about Labour.

She said that his book was a very detailed demonstration of all the work that Labour had been doing while in Government.

Responding to accusations that she and other Labour figures had “courtmartialled” or “shot at dawn” Mr Gilmore when he was removed as Labour leader last year, Ms Burton responded: “In terms of appointing and selecting a team, he [Mr Gilmore] points out himself that that was one of the most difficult and loneliest days of his own life as leader. I was very anxious to provide an opportunity to some of the intake of 2021, some of the newer people, the younger people.

“In doing that obviously, as with Eamon, it was difficult to satisfy everybody.”

Mr Gilmore said he was hurt the way party figures forced him to step aside and that he was taken aback by not being reappointed to Cabinet when Ms Burton took over.

The former tánaiste also revealed that Labour twice nearly pulled the plug on the coalition with Fine Gael over the garda recording controversy as well as over disagreement for the budget in 2012.

He has said that he was “devastated” by the bruising 2014 local election results for Labour and recognised the need to resign after he lost the support of the party’s centre. Mr Gilmore said he was “hurt” when party figures moved to oust him and said they “fired the trigger” too fast.

“It was a case of being marched down the corridor and being dismissed,” he later said.

The publication of the memoir of his time in government comes at a difficult time for Labour as it falls back down to 7% in the most recent poll.

“I hope he has a bestseller, a bestseller for himself in the context of his sterling contribution to politics and to the Labour Party over the decades, but also because it should be a bestseller for a very good cause as he said himself for the Alzheimers Society,” said Ms Burton.

Asked last night if Mr Gilmore’s dismissal from government could have been handled with more decorum, Ms Burton said her job was now to focus on the next general election and the economic recovery.

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