Friday 31 October 2014

Labour Minister of State Alan Kelly says results "devastating" for party

Conor Kane

Published 24/05/2014 | 22:09

Junior minister Alan Kelly, Labour deputy for Tipperary North   at Leinster House yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 12/2/13
Junior minister Alan Kelly, Labour

Labour minister of state Alan Kelly described the outcome of the local elections as “devastating” for the party and said the general feeling among voters is that “we’re not doing our job properly”.

Speaking at the local election count in his Tipperary constituency, Mr Kelly said he was “emotional” and upset at the prospect of many Labour colleagues losing their council seats this weekend.

“Personalities in the Labour Party need to change,” he said, before adding it was “too soon” to decide if Eamon Gilmore needs to be replaced in the leadership.

“Alan Kelly, Eamon Gilmore, Pat Rabbitte, Joan Burton, Sean Sherlock - everyone, we all need to have a hard look at ourselves and, as a team, see how we need to change.”

He called for changes to the Programme for Government and said Labour’s parliamentary party will be meeting on Wednesday for a full-scale review of these elections. “It’s not all about the team captain, it’s about all of us,” he said. “We need to change what we’re doing. It’s a mid-term election. Often governments are given a kicking in a mid-term election and we’re getting a huge kicking. The Labour Party always comes into government when the country is on its knees. We always bring it back and we always get punished for it. It’s going in that direction again but in an unprecedented way because of the unprecedented way the economy was left [by the last government].”

He and his colleagues need to “arrest this decline” for their supporters and also for those who have lost their council seats. “I personally feel very emotional about it and very saddened,” he said.

“To see all these good councillors lose their seats is just something that we need to seriously think long and hard about. These are hard-working, decent people and the party has let them down. The electorate are blaming the councillors for the performance of the party nationally… There’s a general feeling that we’re not doing our job properly.”

Full results for the newly-formed Tipperary County Council are not expected until Sunday, but Labour looked to be on course to lose at least half of its four seats in the county.

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