Thursday 21 September 2017

Burton to fight her corner following election disaster

Labour Party leader Joan Burton is today expected to launch a strong defence of her leadership following the party’s disastrous General Election result. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Labour Party leader Joan Burton is today expected to launch a strong defence of her leadership following the party’s disastrous General Election result. Photo: Steve Humphreys
President Micheal D Higgins and acting Tánaiste Joan Burton at the ceremonial event for the Irish Citizen Army and James Connolly at Liberty Hall yesterday. Maxwell
Niall O'Connor

Niall O'Connor

Labour Party leader Joan Burton is today expected to launch a strong defence of her leadership following the party's disastrous General Election result.

The Acting Tánaiste will address a special Labour meeting, due to be attended by dozens of unsuccessful General Election candidates, during which her leadership is likely to be raised.

The Dublin West TD is under serious pressure after overseeing a dismal election which resulted in her parliamentary party being reduced to just seven TDs.

Former ministers, including Kevin Humphreys, Ged Nash and Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, are embarking on a Séanad run after losing their seats. But sources last night insisted Ms Burton will not "be pushed" into resigning ahead of an expected leadership contest later this year.

"We would be foolish to seek to take Joan out when the party is still very bruised. But if she indicates her plans to remain on beyond the summer, we'll have a problem," a source said.

Under the Labour constitution, the party must automatically hold an a leadership contest six months after an election, if the party does not end up in government.

Labour has insisted it will not form part of the next government - but has not ruled out supporting Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny or Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in their bids to be Taoiseach.

Today's meeting is due to be chaired by former Labour parliamentary party chairman Jack Wall. His successor, Longford-Westmeath TD Willie Penrose, last night said there will be "frank discussions" held at the meeting in relation's to the party's performance.

"A whole load of issues will be looked at in terms of how we can reinvigorate the party," Mr Penrose told the Irish Independent.

"It is also important to hold this meeting so as to allow us to look towards the future for the party which is now going through a rebuilding process."

Irish Independent

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