Labour Party: Brendan Halligan a Liability

THE LABOUR Party is gearing itself for its bi-annual purge and as usual the target is what remains of the left wing. The Labour bosses, however, might just pause before completing their purge file and contemplate . the inclusion of one Brendan Halligan.

This man seriously damaged Labour's credibility by his behaviour in Dublin South East just over a year ago. It will be remembered that, prior to the June '76 by-election there, he solemnly promised to remain in that constituency if elected. However within minutes of the announcement of his election victory he revealed his intention to break his word.

He was then involved in what amounted to manoeuvring in the Finglas constituency where he sought a nomination and attempted to keep 'Matt . Merrigan off the ticket. His behavour during the election campaign forced his, . running mate, Billy Keegan, to suspend his campaign, and then, largely because. of the infighting, the seat was lost to Fianna Fail.

But Halligan's liabilities go further back. It was he who fostered the move to the left in the mid and late 'sixties coupled with the rigid anti-coalition stance, "as a matter of principle". Once the harsh political realities were revealed in the election results of 1969, it was Halligan who opportunistically forced the abandonment of the anti-coalition position and of the guts of socialist policy.

Halligan was the Labour personality primarily responsible for agreeing to the 13 point coalition programme, which set the seeds of the coalition's disastrous failure and the undermining of everyything Labour was supposed to stand for in Government.

On his election to the Dail in June '76 Halligan fervently supported the antiisocialist, anti-liberal measures related to Emergency Powers, and he defiled all associations with socialism by his unninformed support for justin Keating's behaviour in the Bula scandal.

Having behaved so dishonourably in Dublin South West and having been rejected at the polls in Finglas, one might have expected him to retire into wellldeserved insignificance, but no. He has since had the audacity to return to the Labour Party headquarters and demand his old job as general secretary back, thereby pushing the diligent and honest Seamus Scally aside.

He threw a tantrum when the party would not nominate him for the Senate and was deeply involved in the back-room wheeling-dealing over the party leaderrship. The vote was fixed for a date before the Dail resumed to ensure that Sean Tracy, then Ceann Comhairle, would the Dail resumed to ensure that Sean Tracy, then Ceann Comhairle, would not be able to vote for Michael 0 'Leary.

Irish politics can do without people like Brendan Halligan. He should be thrown out