Belfast Telegraph

Hollande hailed as friend and ally

French president-elect Francois Hollande will be an ally and a friend of Ireland, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore has said.

The Labour Party leader said the election of the Socialist candidate was a good day for France and for the party's movement in Europe.

Mr Gilmore said he had no doubt Mr Hollande will be a friend to those across Europe who want to make growth and employment a key part of the solution to the common crisis.

"As a Government, this has been, and will be, our priority," said Mr Gilmore.

"But growth is one side of the coin and stability is the other.

"We who advocate a growth agenda, including Mr Hollande, also recognise that we need to build that growth on solid foundations, which is why it is essential that we, as a country, and as a people, vote to accept the Stability Treaty."

Giving his oration at the annual James Connolly Commemoration at Arbour Hill, Mr Gilmore said Labour's challenge was to walk in the footsteps of the party founder.

However he admitted the task ahead would not be easy.

"The damage that has been done to our country over many years will take longer than 14 months to fix," said Mr Gilmore.

"We are facing, as a party, and as a movement, what may be one of our greatest challenges yet. The State that Labour helped to found is confronted by an economic crisis that has at times threatened to overwhelm it."

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