After Kelly’s brutal removal, will Bacik be the one to save Labor?

Alan Kelly fought back tears as he announced his retirement on the plinth of Leinster House on Wednesday night. Kelly is said to have been in a similarly emotional state at a Labor Executive Committee meeting yesterday morning.

The meeting was called to agree the rules for a leadership election, which is almost certain not to happen. The Parliamentary Labor Party (PLP) was already closing in on the idea of ​​making Ivana Bacik the new leader on that day last week.

Speaking to journalists at a National Women’s Council (NWC) rally in Dublin yesterday, Ms Bacik said she would be consulting with members over the weekend, but she was introduced to the crowd by NWC Director Orla O’Connor as the woman who did so would probably do leading the Labor Party.

Kelly’s removal was swift, brutal and leaves a number of unanswered questions.

He had agreed to hold a special meeting of the PLP a few weeks ago to discuss deepening concerns among TDs and senators about the party’s overall policy direction. Also scheduled for the meeting was a presentation of internal polls commissioned by the party, which allegedly confirmed what the national polls show: the labor movement has been languishing since the turn of the year, ranging between 3 and 4 percent. It is clear there has been no rebound in his 23 months as leader and indeed some national polls suggest Labor is becoming almost marginally statistically irrelevant.

But that particular PLP summit never happened. Instead, Alan Kelly was found early Tuesday morning in his large, drab office in an old wing of Leinster House by Fingal TD Duncan Smith, the man who proposed him as leader for 2020, and two other allies, Cork East TD Seán Sherlock and Kildare , attended -based Senator Mark Wall. They told Kelly to either resign or face a no-confidence motion that he could not win. Knowing he had no support, Kelly knew the game was up. It was emotional and so was Kelly.

Everything had come to a head last Wednesday evening, February 23, after the Dáil’s weekly voting block. An emergency meeting of the PLP was convened to discuss a problem that had arisen in connection with the recruitment process for an internal party position. Louth TD Ged Nash is said to have been angry at what happened and blamed Kelly.

On Friday, Kelly was questioned by Fran Curry on Tipp FM about a report that the backroom appointment concerned the proposed appointment of a relative. “There are no other reasons Fran, I will not get involved in internal workings of the Labor Party nor would I expect you to get involved in internal workings of Tipp FM,” Kelly said. “But it is what it is, it is what I sketched; When my colleagues came to see me early on Tuesday morning, the reasons were what I said and nothing else.”

A Labor Party spokesman said: “In relation to staffing and interviewing, the Labor Party has a duty of confidentiality to the individuals involved in relation to career-related information.

“Therefore (sic) the Labor Party will not comment on internal affairs and will urge the media to respect the privacy and careers of non-public figures.”

Nash has declined to comment on the issue, while others have remained hidden in the PLP. But the recruiting issue proved merely a catalyst for other more important issues, not the least of which was the overall direction of the party under Kelly’s leadership and what have been labeled “cultural issues.” Exactly what these are is not clear.

At a meeting the following day, Thursday February 24, Kelly was given the weekend to consider and reflect on the matters raised, but at that meeting it had become clear that his position was untenable.

This Saturday, while Kelly was at home in Tipperary, some Labor PLP members gathered for the protest outside the Russian Embassy on Orwell Road in Rathgar, Dublin. The following day, the details of the conspiracy to overthrow Kelly were worked out when most of the Oireachtas contingent met at Senator Marie Sherlock’s north Dublin home. Here the strategy of sending Smith, Sherlock and Wall to Kelly was agreed upon and the consensus that Bacik should replace him began to be reached. The three-strong delegation was supposed to meet with Kelly on Monday, but he was dealing with constituency matters in Tipperary.

It wasn’t the first time that some of those present at Sherlock’s house plotted the overthrow of their party leader at a colleague’s house. Dublin Bay North TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Nash were both part of the ‘gang of eight’ who met at the home of former TD Ciara Conway in May 2014 after the collapse of Labor local elections to plot a smack against Eamon Gilmore.

While Ó Ríordáin and Nash benefited from Gilmore’s resignation and were appointed junior ministers by his successor, Joan Burton, her disastrous leadership of the party lost both their Dáil seats in 2016.

In interviews since Kelly’s resignation, PLP members, including Kelly himself, have hailed the impact of what Smith called “the 2011-2016 legacy.” It was an era when Labor had undoubtedly softened the worst effects of austerity, preventing Fine Gael, for example, from cutting welfare principles. But it has also sanctioned politically disastrous measures like water pricing. Worse, Kelly was the minister responsible for implementing the charges something the public has not forgotten.

Now Labor’s attempt to move away from that period is linked to Bacik, who was Seanad’s deputy leader throughout the period from 2011 to 2016. She was responsible for pushing through legislation that enforced policies that led voters to reject Labor in droves.

She’s feminine, liberal, progressive, and fits the bill for many in the PLP if not the members and councilors who mourned Kelly’s departure last week.

But she is clearly not a break from this divisive period in government with Fine Gael.

There is also little evidence that Bacik, who was elected to the Dáil for Dublin Bay South last July, can stem the decline of a party that has proved obsessed more with itself than with the needs of voters over the past week seems.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/after-kellys-brutal-removal-will-bacik-be-the-one-to-save-labour-41416051.html After Kelly’s brutal removal, will Bacik be the one to save Labor?

Fry Electronics Team

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