Former Donegal Mayor Frank McBrearty has denied his decision to leave the Labour Party is that of man jumping off a sinking ship.
Speaking earlier this week he claimed his decision was a ‘moral’ one in that he considered the party had broken most of its electoral promises to the people and he could no longer support it.
The councillor e said he spent more than an hour on the phone Sunday evening with Joe Costello, TD, Labour minister of state, who tried to convince him to stay in the party, and called the minister, “a personal friend”.
Cllr. McBrearty sent an email to the party on Sept. 18th, informing them he would leave Labour effective Sept. 23rd and announce his decision at the Sept. 30th meeting of Donegal County Council.
The councillor said he believed the party has lost contact with “ordinary members”.
“I share that frustration myself as a local councillor in Donegal,” he said.
The councillor also pointed to an email he sent to then-Labour chairperson Colm Keaveney, last December expressing his disagreements with the state budget.
In that email he wrote: “When my year as Mayor is up I will be considering my position in the Labour party as I can not agree to this budget but unfortunately I do not get to vote on it,”
The Raphoe representative went on: “I went to doors telling people students’ fees wouldn’t go up.
“I went to doors saying social welfare cuts wouldn’t come into the equation, family allowances wouldn’t be cut.”
He said Labour “misled the electorate and they misled their councillors, the people who do the work on the ground.”
Cllr. McBrearty said he did not leave sooner because he did not want that act to overshadow his work as Donegal mayor, particularly his promotion of mental health .
Cllr. McBrearty said he will continue to serve the people of the Stranorlar Electoral Area as an independent councillor adding, “I’m absolutely disillusioned with politics,”
Peter Cutliffe, chairperson of the Labour Party in Donegal, said he was sorry to see Cllr. McBrearty leave because he was a good councillor.