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Friday 19 September 2014

Joan Burton wins 76pc of votes to become new Labour Party leader

Niall O'Connor, Political Correspondent

Published 04/07/2014 | 14:19

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Labour Party leadership election candidate Joan Burton at the Labour Party hustings in Portlaoise. Photo: Tony Gavin
New Labour leader Joan Burton at the Labour Party hustings in Portlaoise. Photo: Tony Gavin

THREE out of four Labour voters have backed Joan Burton to become the new party leader.

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Tallies from the count centre in Dublin show that Ms Burton has comfortably defeated Alex White in the leadership contest.

The Social Protection Minister is polling as high as 76pc in some of the boxes opened.

Ms Burton will be formally declared the new leader at the count centre in the Mansion House this afternoon.

The tallies also indicate that junior Transport Minister Alan Kelly is on course to be elected deputy leader.

Outgoing leader Eamon Gilmore is due to address the candidates and members of the party later today.

Ms Burton will shortly switch her attention to the pending cabinet reshuffle and is expected to speak to Taoiseach Enda Kenny later today.

The Dublin West TD refused to rule out the prospect that a party senator may be handed a ministry or junior ministry role.

Senator Ivana Bacik has been named as a potential candidate for such a position, however, party sources have today described this as "mere speculation".

Labour TDs are adamant that Ms Burton must concentrate on rebuilding the party at grassroots level and reviving the Labour brand.

Speaking at the count centre, Kerry TD Arthur Spring insisted that the government will fulfil its five year term.

"Garth Brooks can't do five concerts in a row, Kerry couldn't do five in a row in the football, but by god we will complete the full five years," he told independent.ie.

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