Colm Keaveney refuses to step down as Labour Party chair person

Friday 18 January 2013 22.09
Colm Keaveney chaired the last meeting of the executive before Christmas
Colm Keaveney chaired the last meeting of the executive before Christmas

Colm Keaveney has said he will not be stepping down from his position as Labour chairperson at a meeting of the party's national executive in Dublin tomorrow morning.

Mr Keaveney warned the party leadership not to take any undemocratic action to have him removed from the role.

The Galway East TD chaired the last meeting of the executive before Christmas, where it was agreed that legal advice would be sought to see if he could continue as chairperson.

It is understood that the advice makes it clear there is no mechanism to remove the chairperson before the party conference set to take place in October.

At the meeting, Labour leader and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore is understood to have indicated he could not reveal party strategy when the chairperson had effectively become an "opposition TD".

Mr Keaveney lost the part whip when he voted against social welfare cuts in December's Budget.

He has also been removed from the public accounts, European Union affairs and transport committees.

However, speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Keaveney said he was elected to the position of chairperson by party members and he would not submit to pressure to resign.

Last month, Mr Gilmore and Labour chief whip Emmet Stagg said the TD's position as chairperson was untenable and called for his resignation.

"It isn't in the gift of the party leadership to take away the chairmanship of the party, it's a gift of the grassroots of the party and Eamon Gilmore would want to be cognisant of the fact that the grass roots of the Labour Party would not stand for any undemocratic conduct of the leadership in respect to the chair of the party in terms of haranguing, harassing or pushing me out of the chairmanship," Mr Keaveney said.