Friday, 24 August 2007
News that the Irish Labour Party leader, Pat Rabbitte, is to step down is hardly surprising. Though a good media operator, Rabbitte failed to raise Labour's seats tally in the Republic's general election, a failure that ensured Bertie Ahern's position as Taoiseach-for-life is made more likely. Today's Irish Times reports that either Eamonn Gilmore or Brendan Howlin are the likely successors. Surely now is the time for a rather bigger shift in Irish Labour, rather than a rerun of old Democratic Left-traditional Labour battles? Perhaps one of the party's able women TDs could bring it - Joan Burton or Liz McManus? Rabbitte himself recognised the need for real change some weeks ago. Labour needs to recognise the reality of the challenges it faces in modern Ireland. Rabbitte's retirement gives them the chance to do so.