So the Wicklow TD, Stephen Donnelly, has walked away from the party he helped found, confirming rumours of dissension in the ranks of the Social Democrats (SocDems). The announcement formally came through a statement published in the last hour on his website, though speculation has been circulating in media circles since this morning:
“I am announcing, after a prolonged period of consideration, that I am leaving the Social Democrats with immediate effect. I do so with great sadness, having vested so much together with my parliamentary colleagues, Catherine and Roisin, a small core team and many volunteers across the country, into the establishment of the Social Democrats over the last 20 months.
It is a fact that some partnerships, in every walk of life, simply don’t work no matter how hard all of the parties to that partnership try to make it succeed.
My decision is based on the fact that for the Social Democrats to achieve its potential as a party of significant influence and scale, despite the many obstacles new parties face, one critical component is that the leadership team must function very well together as a team. In spite of everyone’s best efforts, I have concluded that our partnership did not have that . I further believe that this would be the case whether the leadership had continued to be shared or was vested in one person, which was not something I or anyone else had sought.
I entered politics in 2011 because I saw an urgent need for new thinking and approaches to steering Ireland through turbulent times and into a new era of opportunity and equality. I remain just as committed to making as best a contribution as I can to my constituency and our country through politics, as a social democrat. To this end, I will now be consulting with my supporters in Wicklow and East Carlow on the best way forward.
I wish to thank most sincerely the many, many people who support both the Social Democrats and me personally.
I will continue to work hard on the issues I am championing, including stopping tax avoidance by vulture funds, improving public services, resolving the mortgage crisis; responsible fiscal management, promoting high quality job creation and reducing the costs of living and doing business.”
Hmm… Bad news for the Social Democrats and centre-leftish politics in general, good news for the anti-abortion lobby and their conservative allies. The final spur for Donner‘s resignation seems to have been a clash of personalities – and ambitions? – at the top of the SocDem party. Which makes one wonder, who couldn’t stomach working with who any more? The differences in policy that has characterised the three TDanna of the Social Democrats seems to have been more than the amorphous grouping could bear.
“Statement by the Social Democrats regarding the departure of Stephen Donnelly T.D.
Stephen Donnelly T.D. has informed us that he is leaving the Social Democrats.
We are disappointed that he has decided to walk away from the project, we undertook, to establish and build the Party.
The Executive Committee of the Party has reaffirmed its commitment to the vision of a strong economy, fair society and honest politics.
We are fully committed to the project and will endeavour to develop the Party into an exciting force for change in Irish Politics.
As is the case across the globe the defence of social democratic values is not dependent on one personality or politician – but rather is a collective pursuit.
Since the Social Democrats were first founded, in July 2015, we have worked to build the party brick-by-brick. This is a long term project which requires dedication, hard work, long hours and a major commitment from all involved including our elected representatives. The levels of dedication required for such a major undertaking can be overwhelming for some.
However our elected Councillors, our staff team and our volunteers are passionate about our project and we will now get on with the job of building our party.
We wish Stephen the best in his future endeavours and look forward, with excitement, to the future development of the Social Democrats.”
With “excitement“, hey?