Tuesday 23 January 2018

Kelly expects place in Cabinet if elected party deputy leader

Junior Transport Minister Alan Kelly
Junior Transport Minister Alan Kelly

Joe Leogue

JUNIOR transport minister Alan Kelly has said he fully expects to be promoted to Cabinet if elected deputy Labour leader later this week.

Labour members will this week vote on the both the successor to outgoing leader Eamon Gilmore and the deputy leader position.

Social Protection Minister Joan Burton is tipped for the leadership position, and Mr Kelly, inset, for the deputy position. He has publicly backed her for the position.

When asked in Cork yesterday if he expected a promotion if elected deputy leader, Mr Kelly said it "would be the norm".

"The votes will be counted on Friday, but if I do, it would be the norm in this situation in Government where you have a smaller party, especially at our scale, that the deputy leader would be in Cabinet, but that will be a matter for the leader," he said.

He said he had no preference when it comes to the various portfolios available.

"I think there's going to be quite a detailed conversation between the Taoiseach and the new Tanaiste.

"I think that conversation will be about priorities for the Government, re-prioritising the objectives of the Government and ambitions of the Government.

"The actual Programme for Government, most of it has been achieved, so it is now about setting new priorities but I also think that discussion will focus in on ministries, commissionerships and all of that area and I think all of that is up for discussion," he said.

Mr Kelly said that Mr Gilmore would make "a fine commissioner" but that the nomination of a European Commissioner would form part of the discussions to be held between the Taoiseach and new Labour leader.

Mr Kelly (pictured), who was in Cork to unveil the Cork Public Bicycle Scheme, also said that the next budget must give a "break" to working people aged 30-50. "Much of the Programme for Government has been achieved ... But it's about the next 21 months, it's about the priorities within the framework of the Programme for Government. I think a reprioritisation of that is what is needed and is what is going to happen.

"In a personal capacity I believe obviously we need to continue on in the economic course we've been going to get the deficit targets.

"But I believe that we really need to focus on working people, people who go out and do an honest day's work, because they need a break".

"They are the people who have taken a significant hit. They didn't cause the crisis and I certainly think we need to refocus on working people in the coming 21 months," he added.

Irish Independent

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