| 26.5°C Dublin

‘Out of the blue’ – how Labour councillors were left blindsided by Alan Kelly’s resignation

Close

TD Ivana Bacik (left) listens to Former Irish Labour Party leader Alan Kelly's (centre) resignation speech outside Leinster House, Dublin, on Wednesday evening. Photo: Niall Carson

TD Ivana Bacik (left) listens to Former Irish Labour Party leader Alan Kelly's (centre) resignation speech outside Leinster House, Dublin, on Wednesday evening. Photo: Niall Carson

TD Ivana Bacik (left) listens to Former Irish Labour Party leader Alan Kelly's (centre) resignation speech outside Leinster House, Dublin, on Wednesday evening. Photo: Niall Carson

Councillors in the Labour Party have been left blindsided by Alan Kelly’s shock resignation.

The Tipperary TD resigned on Wednesday evening after two TDs and a Senator told him on Tuesday morning that the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) no longer had confidence in him as leader.

However, the move was “completely unexpected” to most councillors and local area representatives.

Councillors who spoke to the Irish Independent said the resignation was “out of the blue”, “completely unexpected” and a “surprise”.

The issue will be raised when the party’s executive board meets tomorrow.

“I am surprised, disappointed and angry,” said Dublin City Councillor Dermot Lacey, who was previously Dublin Lord Mayor.

“Alan was doing a great job and deserved a chance to lead the party post-Covid. He was elected during Covid and he should have been given the chance to lead the party into the next general election.

“I expected him to lead the party into the next general election as of 4pm or 5pm last Wednesday,” he said.

Mr Lacey is expected to raise the issue tomorrow morning on behalf of other councillors within the party as part of his role as chair of the Labour Councillors Association.

He said Mr Kelly rang him to say that he was stepping down prior to making the official announcement at the plinth at Leinster House.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

All councillors who spoke to the Irish Independent said they had not been expecting his resignation and that Mr Kelly took the time to listen and engage with local area representatives.

“He had a good working relationship with all councillors in the party,” said South Dublin Councillor Joanna Tuffy.

One councillor, who did not wish to be named, said they had learned about it from the news.

“He was a very pro-councillor leader, engaged with us and was very supportive of us. From seeing Twitter and WhatsApp comments, nobody knew about it,” said a different councillor, speaking anonymously.

“It seemed to have been a decision for the PLP,” said another councillor.

“There were plenty of opportunities where it could have been said on Zoom or other meetings.”

“It’s very disappointing and surprising,” said another.

“I didn’t have a whiff of it before it happened. There’s seven TDs, five senators and over 50 locally elected representatives – but it seems to have been a decision made by the 12.”

The Labour Party Executive Board will meet tomorrow to draw up arrangements for the succession, including a closing date for nominations – although only the name of Ivana Bacik is likely to be ­submitted.

Ms Bacik was not contactable all day yesterday. On the day Mr Kelly announced his resignation, she said when approached, “My lips are sealed”.

Ms Bacik has repeatedly failed to clarify questions since her election in Dublin Bay South last July about a job that is still being kept open for her at Trinity College. The Oireachtas Register of Members’ Interests shows she has long asserted a career break from her lecturer post at the university

The former Reid Professor of Criminal Law declares on her official Oireachtas submission that she has not practised as a barrister for 11 years. Her old post has been filled by a supernumerary, believed to be on an ongoing temporary basis.

Ms Bacik has not waived GDPR rights for the situation to be disclosed.

Nor has she explained whether it is her intention to ever seek to resume her TCD post, and whether it would be appropriate for a place-holder to lose their position if she were ultimately to return to academia.

The issue arises because most other politicians have no financial safety net, with a similar job-open retention scheme having been scrapped for teachers who become TDs.


Most Watched





Privacy