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Kelly 'relishes' leadership contest as he and O Riordain bid for Labour top job

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Labour Party TD Alan Kelly during his announcement that he intends to stand for the leadership. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Labour Party TD Alan Kelly during his announcement that he intends to stand for the leadership. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Labour Party TD Alan Kelly during his announcement that he intends to stand for the leadership. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Alan Kelly and Aodhan O Riordain have announced their intention to run for the leadership of the Labour Party.

Mr Kelly unveiled his bid in Dublin yesterday, with new Dublin Fingal TD Duncan Smith nominating the Tipperary TD, who was seconded by Cork East TD Sean Sherlock.

The Labour Party will have a contest for the leadership, however, as Mr O Riordain is taking on Mr Kelly.

Mr O Riordain was re-elected as the party TD in the Dublin Bay North constituency.

The former junior minister was a TD from 2011 to 2016, but then lost his seat and has served as a senator for the past four years.

Mr Kelly is being backed by former TDs Willie Penrose, Jan O'Sullivan and Mary Upton, as well as a number of councillors across the country.

He said he would "relish" a contest and that it would be good for the party.

Mr Kelly added that Lab-our needed to go "back to basics" and reposition itself to represent working people. He said the party would stick with its position of not going into government as it has no mandate to do so.

Ged Nash was tipped to contest the leadership of the Labour Party, but the Louth TD's decision not to run leaves it as a two-horse race for the leadership after Brendan Howlin announced his intention to resign last week.

Mr Nash said he will not contest the party leadership despite being encouraged to do so in recent days.

Reflection

Mr Nash, who won back a Dail seat in Louth at the election after losing it in 2016, said he wants to focus on his constituency for the foreseeable future.

In a statement issued yesterday morning through the Labour press office, Mr Nash said: "I want to thank those Parliamentary Labour Party colleagues who have encouraged me to run for the position of leader of the Labour Party.

"I also want to express my sincere gratitude to party members and supporters across the country who have been in contact with me in recent days to encourage me to contest the election.

"After considerable reflection, I have taken the decision not to allow my name to go forward.

"Just over one week ago, the people of Louth and East Meath honoured me with a mandate to represent them, their families and our community in Dail Eireann.

"I am proud to have been entrusted with their trust and confidence. With that mandate comes enormous responsibility.

"My home town of Drogheda is, at present, faced with a particular set of complex challenges.

"There is a responsibility on my local Dail colleagues and I to work night and day both locally and nationally to fix them. This is where my immediate focus must lie.

"I look forward to playing a full and central role in the revitalisation of our party."


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