Alan Kelly: The rebuilding of the Labour Party 'starts tomorrow' after it suffers 'a terrible day'
Outgoing environment minister Alan Kelly has said that rebuilding of the Labour Party “starts tomorrow” after what he described as “a terrible day” for the party.
Arriving at the Tipperary count centre in Thurles today, Mr Kelly said it was “looking good” for him to retain his seat, after an uneasy night for him and many other Labour TDs.
Kelly has been left to fight for the fifth and last seat with his government colleague, Fine Gael’s Tom Hayes, but has gone over 1,000 votes ahead of Hayes following the sixth count and the distribution of Michael Smith’s (FF) vote.
“I suppose you’ll have mixed emotions,” the Labour deputy leader said.
“I’m delighted that hopefully now we’ll win our seat in Tipperary, it’s very important that we do for all the people here who support me and who have supported me for many years. It’s bittersweet in the sense that it’s a terrible day for my party, it’s very emotional to see so many friends and colleagues who have lost their seats.”
He paid tribute to all of his colleagues who lost their seats in this election.
“The rebuilding of the Labour Party starts tomorrow… It’s going to be a big project and I’m certainly going to step up to the plate and ensure that I play my part in that because the Labour Party is a party that’s going to have a huge influence in the future and it’s going to grow and we’re going to start with the local elections and the European elections next, or whatever election comes next, and I guarantee you that the Labour Party will be coming back as a force in this country and I intend to be part of that.”