Wednesday 26 October 2016

Kelly 'satisfied I'll be candidate' for Labour job

Labour TD's Alan Kelly & Brendan Howlin.
Labour TD's Alan Kelly & Brendan Howlin.

Alan Kelly is "satisfied" he will be a candidate to replace Joan Burton as leader of the Labour Party.

The Tipperary TD, who needs to be seconded in order to become a candidate, does not believe there is a "conspiracy" among TDs to put forward Brendan Howlin as a compromise candidate.

Mr Howlin has yet to declare whether he wants to be leader, but yesterday said the party should "act in consort".

"Whatever happens in the next few days, it's important that everybody feels comfortable with it, that everybody is part of the resurgence of Labour. We have a very steep hill to climb.

"Bluntly, this is not about any individual. This is about resurrecting our party," he said.


Since Mr Kelly formally announced his intention to seek the leadership during an appearance on The Late Late Show last Friday, internal pressure has mounted on Mr Howlin to put himself forward as a compromise candidate.

The Labour Party's seven TDs and five senators will meet on Tuesday to discuss the situation and a deadline of Friday has been set for nominations.

Although he remains coy about his intentions, Mr Howlin is understood to be interested in the leadership but is not keen on a contest that takes weeks to complete.

On the other hand, Mr Kelly is prepared to travel the country seeking votes from the membership, who he said should be the ones to make the final decision.

"This is a decision for the Labour Party members. We've thousands of members. We need to ensure that the decision we come to is driven by what the members want."

Speaking at the Annual James Connolly Commemoration in Arbour Hill, Mr Kelly said he didn't buy into "conspiracy theories" that other TDs in the party were working together to block his nomination.

He said he will listen to everything put forward by his colleagues at Tuesday's meeting, but added: "I also believe that everybody in the parliamentary party will consider what I say, too."

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