Sunday, October 30, 2005

Rabbitte faces party inquiry over councilor's complaint

An article caught my eye from Saturdays independent. Basically it is that
LABOUR leader Pat Rabbitte has been summoned to appear before a Complaints Committee of his own party. It is the first time in the history of the State that a party leader will be investigated by his own party. If the complaint by a councilor, which accuses him of "acting in a manner unbecoming of a Labour Party leader" is fully upheld, he could face suspension or even expulsion.
The reason stems from a letter that Mr. Rabbitte sent to the Irish Times claiming that
In Sligo, Cllr Bree used his position as Mayor to stop an accommodation site going into his own electoral ward and sought to put it into the ward of a colleague that already has three such sites."
To which Mayor Cllr Bree replied that
the minute book of Sligo Borough Council for February 2005 can confirm that the only proposal in regard to his ward, the East Ward, was an amendment to the Traveller Accommodation Programme to the effect that a location be sought in the ward for the provision of apartments for newly wed young travellers.
This is indeed true and he voted in favor of
That a location be sought in the East Ward for the provision of apartments for newlywed young travellers as recommended in the travellers on Draft Traveller Accommodation 2005-2008
. However more debates took place on that issue that day. Which are here. This is probably where the controversy may come from. The proposal was.
That Sligo Borough Council delete any future traveller accommodation proposed for the North Ward until a balance and equitable approach in the three wards are achieved
To this he was against and the vote was lost 5-6. This must be where Pat Rabbitee is got his letter from. However reading this proposal and not having any record of the debate I find it impossible to state whether he was against it due to not wanting halting sites in his own area or that he thought that accommodation should come before area politics. To me it seems like Pat Rabbitee was reaching a small bit with his letter. Over this issue there has been a war of words between herself and cllr Jim McGarry and cllr Bree.. In one of the local papers Nicola McGarry, daughter of Jim McGarry said
Clr.Bree is a man undergoing a 'midlife political crisis'.
"He embarked on a campaign to bring dispute and division into the Labour Party in Sligo a long time ago. Perhaps he doesn't like the direction the Party is moving in under the leadership of Pat Rabbitte. Perhaps he feels he has grown away from the Party. If so, I wish he would be man enough to accept it and move on", Ms McGarry added.
There seems to be a wee feud between Mr McGarry and Mr. Bree. Mr. Mcgarry was a member of Fine Gael. He tried to defect to the PDs but seemingly on not been guaranteed a senate seat decided to move to the labour party. From Phoenix magazine.
When Rabbitte visited Sligo recently, local party officers made a tentative agreement to separate the party leader’s tour between the respective baronies of the Bree and McGarry camps. However, when Bree and co saw McGarry intruding into their part of the tour, they abandoned Rabbitte in mid-stream, leaving McGarry to escort his new ‘comrade’ throughout the rest of the constituency.
This would seem to suggest that they are not on the best of terms also it might explain the “He embarked on a campaign to bring dispute and division into the Labour Party in Sligo a long time ago”. It might also show why Mr. Rabbitte may have reason not to support Mr. Bree. However this is all unclear to me and this story is going to run for a while and it is one to watch.

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