Bree warns against undermining Labour philosphy

by Democrat reporter

Elements OF the Irish Labour Party are actively undermining its philosophy to keep establishment parties in power, a Labour Party stalwart warned recently.

Former TD and Sligo councillor Declan Bree made his comments on 1 January while addressing a wreath-laying ceremony organised by Sligo's Connolly forum to mark the 60th anniversary of the death of Leitrim socialist Jimmy Gralton.

His comments were widely seen as a thinly veiled attack on his party leader, Pat Rabbitte. The two men have clashed heavily in recent times, particularly over the party's strategy of entering into a pre-election pact with Fine Gael and Mr Rabbitte's support of the proposed European constitution.

Last year Mr Bree was subjected to an internal disciplinary hearing after criticising fellow Labour Party councillors for joining with Fine Gael and Fianna FAil to vote down Sligo's Traveller accommodation unit programme last June, which he described as "disgraceful".

Speaking at the Gralton commemoration in the Pearse-Connolly Hall, Gowel, Co. Leitrim, Mr Bree told the assembled group:

"Today, people who would say that socialist activists like Jimmy Gralton and James Connolly were born before their time - that their deeds and philosophy were much too advanced and radical.

Unfortunately, people who hold such views and who would have us compromise on our principles can today be found in the ranks of our own movement.

They are the same elements who consistently attempt to undermine our ideology and who would have the labour and socialist movement in Ireland discard its philosophy and its values and become mere props to keep the main establishment parties in power.

Our challenge today is to make it abundantly clear to these elements that like Connolly's ideology, Gralton's philospohy and Gralton's values are fundamental."

Mr Bree added:

"We need to fight for the vision of an alternative Ireland, a society driven by values other than greed, environmental degredation and blind consumerism."

In 1933, Jim Gralton was deported by the Free State government, which accused him of being "an undesirable alien".

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2006-02-14 17:13:00.
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