Monday 22 January 2018

Former Labour TDs vow to make political return

Kathleen Lynch wants to play her part in rebuilding Labour. Photo: Tom Burke
Kathleen Lynch wants to play her part in rebuilding Labour. Photo: Tom Burke

Ralph Riegel and Barry Lennon

Labour Party TDs who lost their seats in the General Election insist they intend to continue in politics.

A number of ex-deputies said they felt "honour-bound" to remain in politics in order to rebuild the party after the worst election in its 104-year history.

Labour won 37 seats in General Election 2011 but was reduced to just six seats last weekend after their national share of the vote dropped by 13pc.

Primary Care Minister Kathleen Lynch TD has emphatically ruled out retiring.

"Labour has to be rebuilt because it was a very bad weekend for us," she said.

"But we had a fantastic team, we got tremendous loyalty from some voters and there is no way I can ignore that.

"How can I walk away from such loyalty? There is a lot of work to be done for the Labour Party and I will play my part."

Oireachtas Banking Inquiry chairman Ciarán Lynch, who lost his seat in Cork South-Central - the so-called 'Constituency of Death' - said he wanted to take "a little time to let the dust settle and draw my breath".

"It is the first time since 1999 I will have a bit of time to myself," he said.

"I'm not going to rush into any decision, but the Labour Party has been a huge part of my life and I'd like to see that continuing."

Kerry TD Arthur Spring and Waterford TD Ciara Conway are both also understood to be keen to continue in politics.

Rural Development Minister Ann Phelan lost her seat in Carlow-Kilkenny but is intent on continuing her political career.

Meanwhile, two of the party's former TDs in Dublin also said they would consider resuming their political careers.

"My plan is to win back my seat and work in my constituency," said Joanna Tuffy, who lost out in Dublin Mid-West.

And former Dublin North-West TD John Lyons said he was leaving the door open.

"Let's say it's still early days and I'm very open to politics and just going to let the dust settle from the General Election," Mr Lyons said.

"If you were to say there's an election in the morning, of course I'd be back up putting up posters. I'm too young give up on it now."

Irish Independent

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