Former Mayor of Fingal Cian O’Callaghan has become the latest member to quit the Labour Party, saying he has come to “disagree profoundly” with its approach in government.
The now Independent councillor recently announced his resignation, and has since accused the party of implementing “unfair and unjust policies” and making choices that have benefited the rich and powerful “at a huge cost to everyone else”.
Cllr O’Callaghan will remain as an Independent councillor on Fingal County Council.
Following his resignation, Cllr O’Callaghan said the Labour Party in government has “broken steadfast election commitments”.
“I disagree profoundly with the Labour Party approach in government in a long list of areas,” he said, naming cuts in education and health and failure to increase taxation on those most able to contribute as just a few of the areas he disagreed on.
Other areas included the “soft approach” to developers responsible for unfinished ghost estates, pyrite-affected homes and derelict sites, as well as the “very tough approach” on families struggling against home repossessions.
The local councillor said the introduction of two budgets in a row – which he believed targeted people on low and middle incomes – was “deeply unjust”.
“This approach goes against what I believe is the very foundation of centre-left politics – which is to encourage more equal societies over time.”
Cllr O’Callaghan said he still has the “upmost respect” for his now former Labour Party colleagues on Fingal County Council.
“For example, the Labour councillors were at their best in recent months in achieving a substantial reversal of cuts to library opening hours. Due to their effective representation, the cuts to library opening hours will be much less severe from September onwards.”
Cllr O’Callaghan also praised local Labour Party TD Brendan Ryan, saying: “I have always found Brendan Ryan to be a very effective, down-to-earth and practical TD, and I wish him and the Labour Party councillors in Fingal all the best for the future.”
Speaking to the Gazette, Deputy Ryan said the resignation “did not come out of the blue”.
“It has been well-known that since Cian’s term as Labour Party nominee for Mayor of Fingal finished, he had seemingly become increasingly unhappy,” he said.
“The reality of coalition government is difficult for all of us, but this is the reality of our situation and it does noone any good to ignore that. It has never been more important to have the Labour Party in government, working day in and day out to protect low and middle income people and families. Walking away into some utopian wilderness will not achieve anything for the people that Cian and I represent. Staying in the Labour Party and staying in government has and will.”