Seanad bids by 3 former Labour ministers of state

Three Labour Party ministers of state who failed to win back their seats in the general election are now hoping to re-enter politics through the Seanad.

The party’s national executive board also meets today to take a serious look at Labour’s dismal performance and seek a way forward.

It is expected that the party will back Enda Kenny’s nomination for taoiseach when the Dáil resumes on Thursday, but may decide not to support Fine Gael after that.

Tánaiste and Labour leader Joan Burton has already stated that she does not see the party re-entering government. There is little appetite in the party to go into any government coalition as many now believe the only way to rebuild is to go into opposition.

After losing their Dáil seats, junior ministers Aodhán Ó Ríordáin, Kevin Humphreys, and Ged Nash are expected to seek the Labour nomination for a seat in the upper house. Other members, including outgoing senators Lorraine Higgins — who failed to get elected to the Dáil — and Aideen Hayden, are also expected to seek a nomination.

However, given the party’s nosedive in the general election, which saw it lose 26 seats, it is likely that there will only be positions available for two Labour senators or three at the very most.

Junior minister at the Department of Public Expenditure Kevin Humphreys, who lost his seat in Dublin Bay South, confirmed yesterday he is considering running for the Seanad.

“I am going to see who else puts their name forward and take it from there,” he said.

It is understood the party’s central council will make a decision on which members to nominate in the coming days. A party spokesman said: “There will be a process for putting forward names and a decision will be made from there. If we manage our votes properly we would get two or three seats.”

The spokesman said the main item on the agenda of today’s national executive meeting would be “to look at where we went wrong and evaluate the outcome”.

Although the party has so far stood by Ms Burton, its rules dictate that a leadership election must be held within the next six months, and could take place as early as June. Seán Sherlock, Alan Kelly, and Brendan Howlin are the most likely candidates to succeed Ms Burton.

“There is no talk within the Labour party of the leadership. It will be three or four months before that is raised,” a source said.

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