Thursday 17 October 2019

'We need to soul-search' - second Labour politician calls for party leader Brendan Howlin to stand down

Labour leader Brendan Howlin. Photo: Frank McGrath
Labour leader Brendan Howlin. Photo: Frank McGrath
John Downing

John Downing

A leading Labour councillor and former Dáil candidate has called on Labour leader, Brendan Howlin, to step down.

Cllr Terry O’Brien, of Tralee, is the second leading councillor in as many days to say Mr Howlin’s leadership is “not working” as the party languishes on 3pc in opinion polls.

That Labour poll ranking is little more than half their disastrous 2016 general election result, in which they got 6.6pc of the national vote and reduced the party to just seven TDs.

Cllr O’Brien, who has been a councillor since 1999 and stood for the Dáil in 2007 polling half a quota, said he respected Mr Howlin’s long record of service to Irish politics but he said a change of party leadership was now urgently needed.

“We need to soul-search and do something very quickly,” Cllr O’Brien told Kerry Radio today.

He supported a similar call by Portlaoise-based Labour councillor, Noel Tuohy, who said much thing on Tuesday.

Cllr O’Brien said his local Labour party, without a TD since 2016 when Arthur J Spring lost out, had recently been supported by Tipperary TD, Alan Kelly.  The councillor said Alan Kelly had remained publicly loyal to Mr Howlin as leader – but the time had come to change and speak out.

Mr O’Brien said Labour had just 50 councillors nationwide, who kept in touch via social media, and there was widespread concern about the state of the party.

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