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Labour Centenary Commemoration in Crisis

Statement by Seamus Healy TD (WUAG) 087-2802199
The South Tipperary Workers and Unemployed Action Group will place a protest picket on a meeting called by Eamonn Gilmore to commemorate the centenary of the founding of the Labour Party in Clonmel in 1912
The meeting will take place in the Minella Hotel on the afternoon of Sunday, December 2, three days before the budget.
The picket will mourn the passing of the Labour Party as an organisation representing the interests of Irish workers.
Former Mayor of Clonmel, Darren Ryan has resigned from the Labour Party in a controversy surrounding the commemoration.
Cllr Ryan (South Tipp Co Co), Cllr Bobby Fitzgerald (Carrick-on Suir UDC and South Tipp Co Co) and Senator Denis Landy (Labour) have announced that they will not be attending the commemoration.
Cllr Bobby Fitzgerald has now called on Eamonn Gilmore to resign as Labour leader. On Tipp FM he said : “Labour needs real leadership and that there is a groundswell of opposition to Eamon Gilmore within the party.”

The Labour Party now has no representative on Clonmel Borough Corporation. WUAG is the biggest party on the Corporation holding 5 of the 12 seats.

The resignation statement of Cllr Ryan (from Clonmelonline) and a recent article from the Clonmel Nationalist on the turmoil in the Labour Party are pasted below.
A statement by Seamus Healy TD (WUAG) following the farcical attempt to commemorate the founding last May is also appended

Cllr. Darren Ryan resigns from Labour Party—–from Clonmelonline

Clonmel Cllr. Darren Ryan has announced his resignation as a member of the Labour Party.
“Firstly this is not a decision I have taken lightly, I have discussed this in detail with my family and close supporters who are 100% supportive of my decision. I have found my position as a Cllr to be untenable in a Party that has lost its traditions and values, Labour in Government has completely turned its back on the very people it claims to represent, the four founding principles of the Party, ‘freedom, equality, community and democracy’ have not been to the forefront of the parties mind whilst making decisions in Government, this is evident by the decisions it’s taking in Government.
Labour has forgotten its founders and birthplace. Every day I have families make contact with me worrying about how their loved ones are going to be cared for with the cut in home help hours; I have students in contact with me who have had to leave college and university because of costs and lack of payment of their grants; I have people in contact with me who are losing their jobs and in fear of losing their homes, I come from a working class background and know only too well the strains that are being placed upon families and, I can no longer be a member of a party that is placing huge burdens on homes.
I see at first-hand how ‘middle Ireland’ are continuously being asked to take the burden of the pain, just because two people are working in a house does not automatically mean that they have huge incomes, or are able to manage any further cuts to their salaries. Labour seem more interested in bailing out the banks than assisting the very people who held the belief that they would be different in Government.
From my involvement with so many community groups I see at first-hand how communities and sections of society are continuously being hit, these are the very groups that are keeping our towns and villages alive, sometimes the only lifeline people have.
When I had the great privilege of serving the people of my town as their Mayor & First Citizen, the Labour Party celebrated its Centenary on 27th May 2012, the very date that Connolly, Larkin and O’Brien stood in our Town Hall 100 years ago, the Party leadership at the very last minute pulled out of those celebrations despite months of planning and preparation. Now they have decided to visit Clonmel on Sunday 2nd December to celebrate, and are not even visiting that very chamber.
This is despite the fact that I, as a public representative was not consulted in anyway shape or form. I found out through a text message of the planned event for 2nd December. In a letter sent out by the Party Leader to members, he says “it would be unthinkable of the Party to not celebrate its Centenary in a significant way” to me this is a huge insult to the members of Labour in Clonmel.
I worked with the majority of my colleagues on Clonmel Borough Council to get a plaque erected and unveiled on the 27th May and the Labour Party snubbed that event. If they think that this was an insignificant event then shame on them, as that plaque was unveiled to the memory of so many people who dedicated their lives to the Labour movement not just to the current Party.
Clonmel has suffered enough from this Party making decisions in Government, I pleaded with them to save Kickham Barracks, I pleaded to save St. Michael’s Unit, to no avail. It is my very strong opinion that Clonmel appears no where on the priority list of the Labour Party. It is my job to represent the people of my town and if the Party of which I am a member of is not making the right decisions, then I see no future within that Party.
Cllr. Ryan will now represent the people of Clonmel on Clonmel Borough Council & South Tipperary Co. Co as an Independent.
From Clonmel Nationalist Published on Wednesday 14 November 2012 09:21
Two senior South Tipperary Labour party figures have declared they will not be attending their party’s
planned celebration in Clonmel next month to mark the centenary of the party’s foundation in the town.
Cllrs Darren Ryan and Bobby Fitzgerald have announced they will boycott the special Labour Party
meeting scheduled to take place at The Minella Hotel in Clonmel on the afternoon of December 2 because
the anniversary had already been celebrated in May at events organised by the local party organisation.
Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore was scheduled to unveil a commemorative plaque at Clonmel Town Hall
on the anniversary day, May 27, and a special meeting of the Labour Parliamentary Party had been
planned at Clonmel Park Hotel the same weekend as part of a series of celebrations in the town to mark the
centenary, organised by local Labour members.
But just weeks before the celebrations, the Labour leadership pulled out because of their close proximity to
the referendum on the fiscal treaty. The decision caused consternation and upset within the local party
organisation at the time.
Cllrs Ryan and Fitzgerald’s announcement that they won’t attend the Labour event in Clonmel on December
2 comes in the wake of South Tipperary Senator Denis Landy walking out of a meeting of the Labour Party
Parliamentary Party last week after Eamon Gilmore announced the plans.
Landy is understood to have been upset at being left out of the loop by the party leadership over the
meeting being organised in his constituency.
Cllr Darren Ryan, who was Mayor of Clonmel in May, said he wouldn’t be attending the centenary meeting
on a point of principal.
He first heard about the party hierarchy’s plans last Friday. He knew little about the plans and wasn’t
consulted in any way about them.
“I won’t be rolling out the red carpet,” he declared.
“The Labour Party leadership were invited to attended the unveiling of a plaque at Clonmel Town Hall to
commemorate the founding of party on May 27.
“In my opinion, I celebrated the centenary in a right and fitting manner and the leadership of the party
chose not to attend it. That was my celebration so I will not be attending this and nor will any of my
supporters be attending.
“I think it’s disappointing. It looks like a last minute rush before the end of the year to get the celebration done,” he continued.
Cllr Ryan added that when the Labour leadership pulled out of the Clonmel celebrations in May he was given a “clear and solid promise” that Eamon Gilmore would visit before the end of his term as mayor but
that never happened.
Meanwhile, Cllr Fitzgerald from Carrick-on-Suir said he wouldn’t be attending the celebration because the anniversary was already celebrated by the local Labour party organisation on the actual date when the party was founded in the town 100 years ago.
“It’s too little, too late,” he told The Nationalist.
Cllr Fitzgerald said he wasn’t happy with the way Senator Landy was treated at the Labour Parliamentary Party meeting last week He also took issue with the fact that Eamon Gilmore was planning to visit Clonmel now but wasn’t prepared to do so during the the centenary celebrations organised when there was a Labour mayor of Clonmel earlier this year.
A Labour spokesman, meanwhile, said the details of the party’s centenary meeting in Clonmel will be announced later this week. While he was unable to confirm at this stage whether party leader Eamon Gilmore will be attending, he said it was hoped to have at least some senior Labour figures there.
“We wanted to make sure there was a significant event taking place in the town in 2012. It’s an event that is focusing mainly on the party membership and will give them an opportunity to look back on the history of the party and look at our place as a progressive party in the years and decades ahead.

Extract from Letter from Seamus Healy TD (WUAG)
Dignified Protest in Clonmel at Labour Party Hypocrisy May 29,2012

A dignified and successful protest organised by the Workers and Unemployed Action Group was held outside the Town Hall Clonmel on Sunday last.

The event was organised to protest against the savage austerity being imposed on the Irish people by the Labour Party in Government and to expose the claim that the Labour Party of today has anything in common with the all-Ireland Labour party founded by James Connolly and Jim Larkin in Clonmel 100 years ago.

As is now usual the Labour Party was in hiding, they had run away again, cancelling the ceremony and sneaking into the Town Hall ‘earlier’ for a private unveiling. Three weeks ago Eamonn Gilmore and the Labour Leadership ran away, pulling out of the Clonmel Commemoration and giving the pathetic excuse of the Referendum.

This time the excuse was even more bizarre and unbelievable. The excuse this time was “security concerns”. The suggestion was that the Gardaí had advised Labour to cancel the ceremony. The Gardaí have confirmed publicly that they did not advise this and of course the protest proceeded peacefully and without incident, as was always going to be the case.

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