TWO Northside Labour TDs have spoken out following the latest resignation crisis to grip the party.
Deputies Tommy Broughan and Patrick Nulty spoke out just days after a third Northside TD, former Minister of State Róisín Shortall, dramatically resigned from the parliamentary Labour party.
Deputy Broughan said that “nobody in leadership is indispensable” adding that “the time may well come when there are enough backbenchers to stand up to uphold the policies of the party”.
Deputy Broughan was expelled from the parliamentary party last December after voting against the Government’s bank guarantee, which he described as “totally contrary to the ethos and belief” of the Labour Party.
“I believe decisions like that have a very serious, negative impact on the party,” the Dublin North East TD told Northside People.
“I feel that many Labour backbenchers are not just uneasy but annoyed and want the party to return to its ethos and the Programme for Government.
“Nobody is indispensable in leadership and the time may well come when we have a majority to make a stand and make a difference.
“I think sometimes people get into a big job and they want to hold onto it but I don’t think anyone should be complacent.”
Dublin West TD Patrick Nulty also lost the party whip just days after Deputy Broughan was given his marching orders last December.
He was just six weeks in the Dáil when he made a stand against Budget 2012, which he said “should have targeted the wealthy instead of the marginalised, sick, elderly and disabled in society”.
Deputy Nulty praised Deputy Shortall’s decisiveness last week when she resigned over what she described as a “lack of support for the reforms in the Programme for Government and the values which underpin it”.
“It’s very worrying that a senior politician felt she had to resign like that,” Deputy Nulty told Northside People.
“I do think more Labour TDs need to speak out and send a very clear warning as to the policies they will and will not support.”
Despite his concerns, Deputy Nulty believes the leadership is “not in question”.
Deputy Shortall resigned as Minister of State and resigned the party whip last week after she and Minister for Health James Reilly locked horns over the criteria and selection process relating to a list of sites for primary care centres.
The matter came to a head when it was discovered that sites in Swords and Balbriggan, both of which are Minister Reilly’s constituency, were added to the list of high priority areas which Deputy Shortall compiled.
In an explanation in the Dáil last Thursday (September 27), Minister Reilly said Swords and Balbriggan were identified as high priority areas by the HSE five years ago.
But both “lost out” after Minister of State Róisín Shortall increased the weighting attached to deprivation in selecting priority locations in which centres would be built.
Three out of the four TDs to leave the Labour parliamentary party since it went into Government with Fine Gael represent the Northside.
Former Minister of State Willie Penrose quit his position late last year in a row over the closure of army barracks in Mullingar.