Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore has said that Labour MEP Nessa Childers has not been told to keep quiet about her opposition to the nomination of Kevin Cardiff to the European Court of Auditors and is free to make her views known.

Mr Gilmore said he respects the fact that individual MEPs may have their own views on the nomination of Mr Cardiff.

He said no-one needs his permission to speak their mind and there will be no action taken against Ms Childers if she speaks her mind.

Asked if he was aware that the MEP had been told to stop criticising Mr Cardiff, Mr Gilmore said "this is news to me".

He said he was not aware of anyone from the party having contacted the MEP in that regard.

Ms Childers has said that she was threatened with expulsion from the party over her opposition to the proposed appointment of Mr Cardiff.

The Ireland East MEP said that she was also warned not to give any interviews to the media on the subject.

Ms Childers did not name the person who had made the threat in a phone call, but said it was a politician and not a Labour official.

She described how she made a call in advance of an interview on RTÉ's Six-One News and was warned she "could end up in court".

Ms Childers also received voice mails warning that if she continued there would be a recommendation for her expulsion from the party.

Last week, Ms Childers said Mr Cardiff would have questions to answer when he goes before the EU's budgetary control committee.