FORMER Minister of State and local TD Roisin Shortall has refused to rule out a possible heave against the Labour Party leadership in 2013, Northside People can exclusively reveal.
In an open and candid interview, the outspoken TD described how there is a lot of dissatisfaction from within the party about how it is being run and there is a “desire for a change of direction”.
“I am aware of a lot of dissatisfaction from within the party but we haven’t got to the point of a heave just yet,” the Dublin North West TD told Northside People.
“I’m not ruling anything out. Anything’s possible at this stage.
“I would expect to see a lot more of a change of direction from within the Labour Party in the New Year and that people will start looking at alternatives.
“We will work from within the party to see this change. This move has only really been devised in recent months, I guess since I resigned as Minister in September.
“There is a very strong desire to see change and a new type of politics.”
Deputy Shortall - who resigned as Minister of State following disagreements with Minister for Health James Reilly (FG) over the primary health care centre controversy - hinted that many of the younger Labour TDs are unhappy with the direction being taken by the party.
“I think we’ll see a lot of movement internally from the grassroots of the party and I believe that Colm Keavney will focus on his desire for a change of direction within the party,” she stated.
Deputy Shortall, who wants to see an end to the “old style of politics”, is one of five Labour TDs to break ranks with her party as a result of unpopular decisions and cuts made by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition.
Deputies Tommy Broughan, Patrick Nulty, Willie Penrose and more recently Colm Keavney, who voted against the Social Welfare Bill last month, have also broken from the party whip.
Deputy Shortall’s popularity has spiked locally since she resigned as Junior Miniser for Health over what she described as a “lack of support for the reforms in the Programme for Government and the values which underpin it”.
“I’ve found since I resigned as junior minister that there is a lot of goodwill towards me, which is very encouraging,” she stated.
“I suppose in general there is a lot of disillusionment among the public in relation to the Labour Party because they feel they’re not getting what they were promised before the election.
“The only thing saving the Labour Party is that there is no obvious alternative.
“I’m very disappointed with how the cabinet made decisions on the budget and I firmly believe that the Government needs to explain how it made decisions such as the cuts in child benefit and the respite care grant.”
When asked about Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore’s role as leader of the Labour Party, Deputy Shortall didn’t pull any punches.
“I think there hasn’t been a very open leadership and that he hasn’t listened to the people,” she said.
“I’m all in favour of harsh decisions that have to be made but they should be fair.
“I think what really maddens people is that the Government has quite clearly protected the better off.
“I think both parties are responsible for ensuring fairness and I’m disappointed in both parties. especially as there was a lot of goodwill towards us when we first went into Government.
“There was a higher expectation of the Labour Party and I believe the Government had choices on alternative budgetary measures in place of those it proposed.”