herald

Friday 9 December 2016

Howlin's appointment as Labour boss overshadowed by Kelly row

New leader Brendan Howlin (Collins Dublin)
New leader Brendan Howlin (Collins Dublin)

Former Environment Minister Alan Kelly has made light of his failure to secure the Labour Party leadership with a tweet involving several pints of Guinness.

The politician had his hopes of becoming the next leader dashed by his parliamentary party colleagues when he failed to secure a single nomination from his six fellow TDs, resulting in Brendan Howlin succeeding Joan Burton without a contest.

However, back in his local pub in his native Tipperary last night, Mr Kelly showed that he can poke fun at himself.

Posting a photo of seven pints of Guinness ranging from full to empty on his Twitter account, he captioned the photo: "The seven stages of leadership."

It was a light-hearted end to a tough day for the former deputy leader who was labelled "childish" by colleagues after he snubbed a press conference in Dublin during which Mr Howlin was declared the new leader.

He instead remained in his constituency and later released a statement expressing his dissatisfaction at the manner in which the process was handled.

"The rest of the parliamentary party took a different view to what I believe is the members' wish and entitlement," he said. "I want to thank the huge volume of members who have confirmed that view to me."

The announcement was also overshadowed by accusations that Mr Howlin told members of the parliamentary party he would only put himself forward as a candidate if there was no contest. The Wexford TD has denied the claims, but Mr Kelly is adamant that Mr Howlin "blocked" his leadership ambitions by issuing the warning to colleagues during lengthy talks this week about the future of the party.

"Howlin was either too precious or too afraid of Kelly to allow a contest," a source close to the former Environment Minister told the Herald.

Mr Kelly is also no longer the Labour deputy leader, with doubts now over whether that position will be filled, given that the party has only seven TDs. The humiliation for Mr Kelly is compounded by the fact that he appeared on the Late Late Show last week to declare his intentions to succeed Ms Burton. It is felt within Labour circles that Mr Kelly would have beaten Mr Howlin if the question had gone to a vote of almost 4,000 members.

A number of party figures, including Mary Upton and Joe Kemmy, have expressed their dissatisfaction at the lack of a contest. Former Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan came under political pressure from Labour members in her constituency of Limerick. Mr Kelly is believed to be considering his future, but sources say he does not intend to quit the party.

Mr Howlin has promised to rebuild Labour following its general election drubbing in February.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News