Kelly declares intentions to become next Labour leader
Published 14/05/2016 | 02:30
Former environment minister Alan Kelly has declared his intention to seek the leadership of the Labour Party and double their Dáil seats at the next election.
The Tipperary TD predicted the new government will collapse within two years and he has the "energy and drive" to lead the party.
However, he said that he does not anticipate a full-blown leadership contest, suggesting that the party's seven TDs will reach a consensus on who should succeed Joan Burton.
Brendan Howlin is also considering whether to have a tilt at the position this weekend, while Jan O'Sullivan and Sean Sherlock have not ruled themselves out of contention.
Mr Kelly (40) said that he spoke with Mr Howlin about the situation yesterday and the party TDs and senators will meet on Tuesday for further discussions.
In a clear effort to differentiate himself from Mr Howlin (60), the current deputy leader suggested the party needs a leader who can plan for multiple elections and he could bring a "different philosophy".
"If the election was very soon, the Labour Party would have ambitions to double their seats," he said.
Speaking on the Late Late Show, Mr Kelly described Labour's election result as "disastrous" - but blamed "populism" for much of their troubles.
"We lost because by and large we were lost in the flow of populism that has engulfed Irish politics," he said.
"The issue is that in modern-day politics, there is a large element of populism that has taken hold. We need to take a step back from that."
In a clear pitch for the leadership, Mr Kelly added: "We will bring this party back."
On Irish Water, Mr Kelly hit out at junior minister Finian McGrath who had been refusing to pay his charges.
He said it was "incredible" that Mr McGrath could have expected to sit at Cabinet while not obeying the laws of the country.