Alan Kelly becomes Labour party leader

Alan Kelly becomes Labour party leader

Update: Alan Kelly has become the 13th leader of the Labour Party.

It comes as his rival Aodhán O Ríordáin conceded defeat last night.

There was a total valid poll of 1,915 votes in the leadership contest, and a quota of 958 votes. Alan Kelly received 1,047 votes, to Aodhán Ó Ríordáin's 868 votes.

In a statement, Aodhán O Riordáin said: “I wholeheartedly congratulate my friend and colleague Alan Kelly, who now takes on the responsibility of leading our Party. The values of economic justice, universal rights, equality, solidarity, compassion, inclusiveness and internationalism are safe in Alan’s hands. I want to especially congratulate his family who I know will rightly share in this proud day.

“I know that everyone in our party – and many, many people beyond – will share my desire to thank our outgoing leader Brendan Howlin, and to acknowledge his extraordinary contribution to the cause of Labour and the cause of Ireland in so many ways, and over so many years.

“I thank our returning officer Conor Power, the team at Mazars, and the Labour Party staff who have conducted today’s count, and indeed the election itself, in the most difficult of circumstances.

“I want to thank every Labour Party member for engaging so passionately and respectfully in this debate and election. The high turnout in the election again shows how passionately our members believe in the values of the Labour Party - a party that gives every member an equal say in these leadership elections.

“And I want to thank my campaign team, and the many Labour members who voted for my platform of workers’ rights, excellent public services for all, tax justice, and a party that reaches out to young people and the voters whose trust we lost in recent times.

“I especially want to thank my own family who have instilled in me these values which I know we all hold dear.

“I know that, like me, every Labour member is loyal to the Party, and will now unite around our new leader – and an Oireachtas team greatly strengthened in the Seanad elections over the last few days. Together we will rebuild a party that we can all be proud to be part of, and which can lead people back to campaign with us, to join us, and to vote for us.

“These are extraordinary and difficult times for our country and for people across the globe who are suffering from the health and economic impacts of the coronavirus.

“Like never before, this is a time for unity and solidarity in our Party, in our country, and across international borders.

“We, the people of Ireland and of the world, will get through this. Then as now, Labour, with its sister parties, progressives and trade unionists across the globe, will be leading the charge for a just, fair, equal and sustainable planet.”

Earlier: Alan Kelly to be elected Labour party leader

Alan Kelly is set to be elected the 13th leader of the Labour Party having defeated his rival Aodhán O Ríordáin.

According to tallies, the former Environment Minister and MEP won 58% of the vote compared to 42% for Mr O Ríordáin.

Mr Kelly, a Tipperary TD, succeeds Brendan Howlin how announced his resignation following the party's disastrous showing in February's General Election where it won just six seats.

Mr Kelly, a native of Portroe, was the favourite to win the contest having been the party's star performer in the 32nd Dáil.

The six-week campaign saw the two men face-off in a hustings event but due to the Coronavirus pandemic, but many events were curtailed or cancelled.

Earlier, Mr Kelly held a commanding lead over his Dublin Bay North rival.

It is expected Mr Kelly will come under pressure to allow the party to be involved in Government formation talks next week, despite Mr Howlin ruling that out in the immediate aftermath of the General Election.

The sorting and counting of approximately 1,900 postal ballots began just after 2pm.

Senior counsel Conor Power was carrying out the count in a room at the offices of auditing firm Mazars.

Due to Coronavirus restrictions, a live video link has been made available to the campaign teams of the two candidates to watch the count proceed as public access was not possible.

This is not the first time Mr Kelly had sought to be leader.

Mr Kelly's election comes four years after he failed to gain a nomination from any of his fellow TDs to contest for the Labour leadership against Mr Howlin.

Mr Kelly, a former deputy leader of the party, served as Minister for Housing between 2014 and 2016 and was a junior transport minister for three years before that. He returned to Leinster House in 2011 from Europe where he had served as an MEP from 2008.

Launching his campaign, Mr Kelly promised to “make Labour sexy again” and a return to basic principles. Having championed the cause of women cancer survivours affected by the CervicalCheck scandal, he won the public backing of leading campaigner Vicky Phelan in recent weeks.

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