Burton expected to stand down today
Joan Burton is expected to announce her decision to step down as Labour leader when the parliamentary party meets today, kick-starting the race to elect her successor.
Labour had a disastrous election - losing dozens of Dáil seats - and under the party's rules a leadership election must take place within six months if it is not returned to government.
A Labour spokesman last night said that Mr Burton was not commenting on whether or not she would step down or seek to enter the race for the party's leadership ahead of today's meeting of TDs and Senators.
Nevertheless, it is widely expected that Ms Burton will announce her decision to step down, with deputy leader, Tipperary TD Alan Kelly, Cork East TD Seán Sherlock and Wexford's Brendan Howlin named as possible contenders to replace her.
A Labour source said: "The one thing that we have afforded our party leader is respect and an opportunity to consider matters and make her own decision in her own time."
The source added: "We all have collective responsibility for the fact that the Labour Party lost a number of seats, so we're not going to be heaping that on top of any one individual." They said it would be "premature" to try and predict who her successor would be.