Tuesday 22 October 2019

Alan Kelly: Brendan Howlin is not the right person to lead Labour Party

  • Tipperary TD Kelly agrees with councillors who are calling for change at the top
  • Former minister said he would be willing to put his own name forward for a leadership contest if a vacancy arose
Party leader Brendan Howlin with Alan Kelly. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Party leader Brendan Howlin with Alan Kelly. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin's days looked to be numbered after Tipperary TD Alan Kelly effectively called for him to step down.

Two and a half years on from their disastrous general election result, the party has failed to make any major advances.

And today Mr Kelly said he agrees with councillors who are calling for change at the top.

"We need a radical shake-up. We need to change the direction of the party. We need a different vision. We need far more energy," he said.

The former minister said he would be willing to put his own name forward for a leadership contest if a vacancy arose.

Mr Howlin has been under pressure over the summer months but has insisted he will deal with the issues at the party's mid-September think-in.

He got the job in 2016 after the party was reduced to just seven TDs. Mr Kelly had expressed an interest in the post but couldn't gain the necessary support among those seven TDs to get a nomination.

Speaking on his local radio station, Tipp FM, Mr Kelly said the ex-public expenditure minister had represented the party "wonderfully" over the years.

But he said Labour is no longer "connecting with the public".

"I think Brendan needs to consider what is best for the Labour Party into the future," he said.

"I certainly believe from a leadership point of view after two and a half years we haven't been able to turn the ship around. We haven't even looked like we're turning the ship around."

Mr Kelly said the candidates being lined up for the next general election "deserve the best crack of the whip" and "that's not happening at the moment".

Asked whether he wants to take over the reigns, he replied: "If the position was vacant I'd put my name forward. I can't give out my vision of where I believe I would go." 

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