‘Potter’ prevaricates as party plummets in polls

Breaking up is hard to do . . . Niall McNelis and Brendan Howlin at the Mansion House

Bradley Bytes – A sort of political column with Dara Bradley

The Labour Party is in disarray. Not Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour, although that’s in disarray too. But the Irish Labour Party is having an existential crisis. Not many of you will have noticed. Nobody really notices – or cares – what happens to Labour anymore.

Rightly or wrongly, Labour was perceived to have turned its back on working people, and reneged on its promises in government from 2011. They lost voters’ trust and now suffer the consequences – out in the cold, flirting with irrelevancy.

History may judge Labour more favourably; but for now, the party must fight to ensure it isn’t consigned to history.

With Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – two cheeks of the one arse – occupying the middle-ground, Labour is getting squeezed by Sinn Féin, who have infiltrated trade unions, traditional Labour strongholds.

They’re also feeling heat from Social Democrats, who espouse progressive ideals that appeal to posh middle-class voters with a social conscience that used to vote Labour. Heck, even the Greens are more palatable and relevant these days than Labour.

No wonder, then, Comrades are sharpening knives for leader Brendan Howlin. More than a dozen Labour councillors want Howlin’s head. Galway’s Billy Cameron is among them but Niall McNelis, interestingly, isn’t.

The city’s mayor, McNelis, wasn’t backward in coming forward during the Labour leadership coronation in 2016. The Knocknacarra-based councillor backed Tipperary TD, Alan Kelly. But now that Kelly has come out, and effectively told Howlin to step down as leader, McNelis has gone all quiet.

McNelis was pictured a week ago at the Mansion House; and judging by the puss on Howlin, he reiterated his support for Kelly. Not publicly, though.

Niall doesn’t like to offend; and has a leg in both camps. Last week he forwarded a press release from Howlin, entitled; “Ireland’s interests cannot be compromised in any Brexit deal”. For fear anyone mistook this as an endorsement of Howlin, he quickly followed up that email by re-circulating a statement by Kelly about the Cervical Check scandal.

The Harry-Potter lookalike is an expert at straddling two stools. He won’t get away with it for long, though: it’s D-Day at Drogheda’s D-Hotel next Sunday week when Labour convenes for a think-in, and McNelis will have to get off the pot.

Hildegarde hogs think-in

Hildegarde Naughton, one of two Fine Gael TDs in Galway West, is attempting to position herself as the Fine Gael TD in the constituency . . .

For more Bradley Bytes see this week’s Galway City Tribune