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Bree unlikely to withdraw remarks despite the threat of expulsion from party

category sligo | housing | other press author Tuesday June 28, 2005 19:36author by M. Allen - LP Report this post to the editors

Excerpted from The Sligo Champion

AS he prepares to face an internal disciplinary hearing into his criticism of two Labour Party colleagues over their failure to support a Traveller accommodation plan, the Mayor of Sligo, Councillor Declan Bree has indicated that he intends to stand by his controversial remarks.

The enquiry has been sparked by a complaint from the Sligo/ Leitrim Constituency Executive over criticism made by Clr. Bree of his party colleagues, Jim McGarry and Veronica Cawley in The Sligo Champion, but this morning the Mayor strongly hinted that he has no intention of withdrawing the remarks, commenting that he "doesn't compromise on matters of principle."

Complaints body

The Mayor could be expelled by a special five person complaints committee to be set up later this week, after Labour General Secretary, Mr. Mike Allen, ruled the complaint from Constituency General Secretary, Peigin Doyle, was valid and forwarded it for full hearing.

The latest twist in a simmering internal Labour Party row erupted after Clr. Bree described as "disgraceful" the decision of Clr. McGarry and Clr. Cawley to vote against the proposed Traveller Accommodation Programme.

They joined with Fine Gael and Fianna Fail members of the Borough Council in rejecting the plan from County Manager, Hubert Kearins by seven votes to four. Clr. Bree and the three Sinn Fein Councillors voted in favour.

"How can anyone who claims to share the values of the Labour movement, or how can anyone with an ounce of compassion tolerate such a situation ?" Clr. Bree asked in his interview with The Sligo Champion.

At a Labour meeting in Sligo at the end of February, a motion was adopted calling to Clr. Bree to apologise to his two party colleagues, but he refused this request.

'No compromise'

Responding to confirmation that a disciplinary hearing was now to take place, the Mayor said this morning that it was a matter of public record that he described the decision by Councillors to vote down the Traveller Accommodation Programme as "disgraceful."

"I expressed my views as Mayor and indeed as a life long socialist activist. The people of this community know me. They know where I stand on issues and they know that I don't compromise on matters of principle," he added.

"The complaints procedure is an internal matter for the Party and I do not wish to comment on it at this time other than to say I am disappointed," Clr. Bree concluded.

The Labour General Secretary notified the Mayor and the Party's National Executive Committee of his decision to deem the complaint from the Sligo/ Leitrim Executive as valid and the decision to proceed to establish a Complaints Committee composed of five persons selected from the Complaints Panel of thirteen members appointed by the N.E.C.

It is understood the Committee has the power to decide to dismiss the complaint, to note it, but take no action, to suspend Clr. Bree from Party membership, or to expel him from membership.


The Sligo Champion

author by outsiderpublication date Tue Jun 28, 2005 22:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Will the so called lefties in the LP come out publically and support Bree. Where is LY, Michael D., Joe Costello?

Or are they afraid of Pat Rabbitts purge! Probably looking for a cushy cabinet post after the next election

author by George Gilmartinpublication date Wed Jun 29, 2005 15:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Has the Labour Party lost its soul totally? Is this the party of Larkin and Connolly?

I think the Labour Party is disgraceful for even thinking of bringing Bree before a disciplinary hearing.

I am amazed at the deafening silence from the so called lefties, Higgins, Costello, Braughan, Ryan, Bachik & Co. Has Rabbitte and New Labour succeeded in silencing them all

In the past people like Clrs McGarry and Cawley would have been expelled from the Labour Party for voting against travellers. How things have changed under Rabbitte.

Bree is to be admired for taking a stand on this issue I know its not the first time he has stood up for travellers and other minority groups. He deserves the support of everyone who believes in justice and equality

author by Chris Bond - UCD Labour(pers cap)publication date Sun Aug 07, 2005 04:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fair play to Declan Bree for keeping the red flag flowing. He has my support.

author by Shipseapublication date Sun Aug 07, 2005 12:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The treatment of Bree by the Labour Party is disgusting - nothing but bullying and intimidation. A taste of what is to come if Labour ever form part of any government. Lets hope their plotting and planning with Fine Gael is no more effective at gaining them votes than last time round. Either way, those who care should do their utmost to ensure that Labour are exposed for what they have become: a power hungry cabal of self-servers who have abandoned all their principles. People like Rabbitte are panicing. Their personal careers might never amount to anything more than sitting on the opposition benches, tantalisingly close to power but never attaining it. Daily they are forced to watch the Fianna Failers and PDs gorging themselves on power and greedily exploiting all the advantages that accrue as a consequence. If the UK story is anything to go by, we can expect our own 'New Labour' to be more right-wing and dictatorial than the Fianna Fail/ PDs - and that's really saying something. Rabbitte is deliberately cultivating a 'more right wing than thou' image so that traditional FG supporters (the gentlemen's brigade) wont be frightened off. Any self-respecting labour party member reading this thread should make a point of encouraging his or her 'comrades' to abandon Labour: it no longer represents decent people anywhere.

author by Old Labourerpublication date Mon Aug 08, 2005 16:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Labour has certainly sold out its soul and the treatment of Declan Bree is the latest example of it. Declan Bree, unlike the stickies, took his Sligo Leitrim Socailist organisation into the labour party in order to strengthen the possibility for socialist involvement in government, and it paid off in 1992. Unfortunately jumping ship to join up with FG in 1995 cost the party most of its gains in 1997.

Since then the disgraceful decision by the majority of Labour members to hand over the keys of the party to the stickies has led to a purge against what we can now see were 'old labour' people and 'old labour' self respect. Pat Rabitte wants to be a Minister before he keels over and has put all his eggs in the blueshirt basket, this will be his Waterloo -

There are two distinct groups in the party at the moment, those who think being socialist means being anti fianna fail at all costs, and those who know that the only way to get socialist policies implemented is to negotiate the best programme for government possible, which will be with FF after the next election.

Hopefully at that stage the party can be taken back from Rabbittes gobshites and a real Labour person chosen to lead the party again.

Rabbitte, Lady Wicklow and the rest of the sticky carpetbaggers should be done away with as soon as possible and leave decent socialists like Declan Bree to get on with it.

author by shipseapublication date Mon Aug 08, 2005 17:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

How anyone can think, after everything we have seen of Fianna Fail that they are in a position to negotiate an even vaguely socialist agenda with Labour must have had their head in a bucket for the last 10 years. FF are completely in the pockets of the corporate colonists, sold out lock stock and barrell. In order to preserve that relationship they have had to become almost completely corrupt. Any Labour party negotiation with them will cost Labour probably more votes than a pact with FG. I think the level of loathing and resentment that they have created in almost every section of society is becoming critical for them. The best possible coalition for government would be a Labour party purged of Rabbitte and his ilk/Sinn Fein on their current manifesto (but watch that space) and the Green Party. That would be a real people's party coalition.

author by Old Labourerpublication date Tue Aug 09, 2005 11:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sounds grand in theory but i doubt if that combination will come up with more than 35 -36 seats between them next time round.

The rant about fianna fail by Shipsea should certainly have made herself feel better yesterday afternoon but it doesnt really get us very far.

For any of the left of centre parties to get into government in the short to medium term will require a coalition with one of the conservative parties, i'd prefer to do a deal with FF rather than FG for the following reasons:

1. They'll agree to more or less anything as long as they can remain in power.

2. Despite the influence of the PDs there are still a few people in there with social democratic instincts.

3. FG have demonstrated no understanding of, or feel for, the peace process.

4. The trade unions

5. The last time we went into coalition with FG they were on their last legs and another couple of years of impotent opposition would have killed them off altogether. Government gave them the kiss of life and now they are on the comeback trail. FG are the enemy just as much as FF, but they are the weaker party so we should be ruthless and wipe them out - not give them a handup to get back on their feet. IF there are anti-FF votes out there, let the left parties collect them, not FG.

Paradoxically we will only do this by striking a deal with FF after the next election.

and finally

6. In order to get into govt with FF Rabbitte and the Carpetbaggers will have to be shafted.

author by creakybonespublication date Tue Aug 09, 2005 12:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't think it is fair to refer to shipseas contribution as a "rant".
I have watched the to-ing and fro-ing of the Labour party for the best part of the past forty years. They should stop co-operating with either of those two parties.
I agree with "Old Labourer" that the first task should be to finally drive the stake into the heart of the Fine Gael party. But people should also be very wary of any dealings with Fianna Fail.
We should aim to weaken both of them to such an extent that they would have to rely on each other. A FF/FG coalition would be the most natural alliance in Irish politics, and would finally shatter the illusion that they are somehow different. The reality is that they are both 'conservative' parties.
If avoiding coalition with either of them leads to a period in opposition then so be it. The long-term aim must take priority.

Not sure what you mean by point 4 though:
"4. The trade unions"
Are you suggesting that FF are somehow good for the unions?
Shurely not???

author by Shipseapublication date Tue Aug 09, 2005 12:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My observations about Fianna Fail yesterday afternoon were no more of a 'rant' than your own here this morning. Presumably you found it therapeutic to include your patronising little put-down. However, we seem to agree about everything in fact, except that it is necessary to do a deal with FF after the next election. This is what people would call a pragmatic solution, I suppose: get into power by compromising the urgent interests of large sections of the voting public. If there are decent people in Fianna Fail, they should long ago have left in disgust and they do not deserve to be rewarded for their cowardice. Airbrushing over the atrocities of Fianna Fail's record does nothing to eliminate corruption in government and this is an issue which is a big concern for many people. Fianna Fail have gotten away with disgraceful conduct and there are many voters who are sick and tired of those who constantly ask us to look the other way. How anyone calling themselves an Old Labourer can overlook the corruption of Fianna Fail as casually as this completely mystifies me. If Sinn Fein play their hand well, they have a chance of making serious gains in this coming election. Both FG and FF see that threat too, though, and will do everything possible to discredit them. We should hold out for the most principled coalition we can find - even if that means we dont succeed until the following election. There is at least a credible chance that this approach would result in a greatly weakened government majority next time round which in itself would have a lot of significance for government policy in the meantime. Im not advocating some utopian 'revolution' either. Yours is an argument that has seduced too many people for too long and it is the same tired old story that has manifestly let us all down for decades. We need to smash the FF/FG stranglehold in this country and that wont be done overnight. The voices of decent, fair-minded people need to be allowed to resurface. Let's put all our efforts into that instead.

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