Heretofore fringe events at the Labour Party Conference have concentrated on Party sections delivering workshops with panels of guest speakers on topics associated with their area of work or party staff delivering training. While these will continue to be the backbone of conference between plenary sessions, this year the Connolly Café was launched.
Taking place on the Friday night, an impressive panel was moderated by Irish Times political journalist Fiach Kelly, our nighthawks version of a late night panel discussion began on the topic of ‘how social democrats deal with populism’.
As I was going over the Cork and Kerry mountains on my way to the annual conference of the Irish Labour Party I ran into the mother of all rainstorms and the brutal weather that nearly dumped me in the ditch there and then seemed not to be a good omen for the Killarney gathering. Carrying fraternal greetings in my heart and a well filled hipflask in my jacket I battled through and glad I was to have done so.
Speaking to the Irish Times the Tanaiste Joan Burton has said a strong recovery in our public finance will allow for long-term investment in education and infrastructure. Read more in the Irish Times or you can listen back to the interview with the Times's Hugh Linehan from the link below.
On Saturday night the Tánaiste Joan Burton made her first speech as Leader of the Labour Party to conference in Killarney. You can watch her speech back from the video or read it below.
The Labour Party is the party of work and we are getting Ireland back to work
It's a huge honour for me tonight to stand in the footprints of the great leaders who gave heart and soul to this party. Men like Dick Spring and Eamon Gilmore – whose commitment to Ireland’s cause was absolute. Whose character was resolute. And whose dedication to Labour values was beyond dispute. Values shaped so much by the women of our party.
So I take particular pride standing here as the first woman leader of the Labour Party.
Tonight our annual conference starts in Killarney. Aside from a packed weekend of debate, among the highlights include the Tánaiste Joan Burton’s speech on Saturday night, presenting awards to long-standing members and workshops.
Every year at conference we endeavor to bring you the vast majority of conference online, from livestreaming the entire weekend’s debates, regular updates on our blog, posting videos of speeches to our YouTube channel, constantly updating Flickr with photographs from the weekend, regular updates on Facebook and live-tweeting the conference (#LP15).
The recent report of the think tank Tasc on economic inequality in Ireland has generated a good deal of response, not least an editorial in this newspaper. The impression has been given that economic inequality in Ireland is more grievous than in any other developed country; that the current Government is indifferent to inequality and that inequality is, in the words of the Irish Times editorial writer, a result of “the political choices we have made”. These assertions are factually misleading and politically repugnant.
Last night Labour Party members in Carlow/Kilkenny selected Cllr Willie Quinn as the Labour Party candidate in the forthcoming byelection. Cllr Quinn who has been a county councillor since 2007 said the byelection is about protecting the economic recovery and helping to build a better financial future for the peple of Carlow/Kilkenny "with a sustainable model, away from the ‘wrecking ball’ politicians and those who are only interested in mayhem and chaos".
Last night's convention which was chaired by Deputy Emmet Stagg and attended by the Tánaiste Joan Burton, heard of the rich tradition of Labour in the constituency.
Labour Youth launched its ‘Yes to Marriage Equality’ campaign this afternoon with a marriage-themed photoshoot outside Leinster House. Youth members performed mock marriages alongside Minister Alex White and John Lyons TD, in their roles as Campaign Director for the referendum and Co-chair of Labour LGBT respectively, as well as Minister of State for Equality Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.
Young people have the potential to carry this referendum to a successful outcome. We have the passion and the will to see it through - but we must not be complacent. There are still many people