Councillors call for Alan Kelly to become Labour leader

Unhappy Labour councillors have said Alan Kelly, the party’s former deputy leader, should take over the leadership of the party in order to revive its standing.

Alan Kelly

Seven councillors have now called on leader Brendan Howlin to resign and make way for another leader.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, a number of councillors have said Mr Kelly is what the party needs and restated the calls for Mr Howlin to make way.

Donegal councillor, Martin Farren said Mr Howlin must accept responsibility for the party “being in the doldrums”.

He has been given considerable time to turn the party around, but we are making no progress. He should, for the good of the party, consider his position,” he said.

Asked who he would like to lead, Mr Farren was clear in his support for Mr Kelly.

“I would like to see Alan Kelly lead. We need a young, vibrant, and energetic person to re-energise the party ahead of the elections coming up,” he said.

Mr Farren said he was not acting as part of a co-ordinated group but did say his views are shared by many within the party.

No one in the party, be they councillors or TDs or whatever, can be happy with 3% in the polls. With local and European elections next year and the real possibility of a general election, we need to rebuild the party,” he said.

Dublin South West councillor Mick Duff said while he would prefer a contest to occur, his preference would be to see Mr Kelly assume the leadership.

He said that the proposed meeting with councillors in Drogheda on September 16 is not sufficient and that the leadership issue is an impediment to all other work being done.

The away days should be postponed until this issue is dealt with. It is now the number one issue.

He said it was not acceptable for the leader to refuse to meet the councillors to discuss the issue before then.

He also severely criticised Mr Howlin for not being a strong enough voice in Opposition. “He has not left his ministerial hat behind him and looks forward to being in Coalition with Fine Gael again,” he said.

Repeated attempts to contact Mr Kelly yesterday were unsuccessful.

The seven councillors who have called on Mr Howlin to resign are Mr Farren, Mr Duff, Martina Genockey, Pamela Kearns, Terry O’Brien, Noel Tuohy, and Lettie McCarthy.

Mr Kelly sought to be nominated to contest the leadership in 2016, but failed to secure the support of any other TD to do so.

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