Labour deputy party leader Alan Kelly has strongly hinted that he expects to be in a position to fight for the leadership — despite many figures backing Brendan Howlin for the role.
It is expected a decision will emerge early this week on whether there will in fact be a contest for someone to take over from Joan Burton or whether one figure will be backed.
Mr Howlin yesterday signalled that he wants the parliamentary party to decide, while Mr Kelly says that the thousands of members in the party should ultimately choose. If there is a contest and more than one person runs, a conference will be called and all members will have a vote. However, if just one person runs, no such vote takes place.
Ultimately, the decision on what happens will be made by Labour TDs this week, one of whom is needed to act as a ‘seconder’ for anyone considering running.
There are mixed reports on whether Mr Kelly can secure a seconder and whether most TDs instead want Mr Howlin to have the leadership without a contest.
Mr Kelly though yesterday insisted he would be a candidate before the nominations close on Friday.
“I don’t perceive there’ll be any issues in relation to the process,” he said at an event in Dublin. “I look forward to meeting with everyone on Tuesday and talking it through. I’m satisfied I’ll be a candidate. I plan to put my name forward. I look forward to it. There’s a big challenge ahead for the party.”
The former environment minister said he had received much support since his appearance on the Late Late Show on Friday, where he said he wanted to be leader.
“I’ve had hundreds of people onto me since Friday night,” he said. “This is a decision for the Labour Party members. We’ve thousands of members. We need to the ensure that the decision we come to is driven by what the members want.”
Mr Howlin said he wanted to “play whatever part the parliamentary party gave him” in rebuilding the party.
“I’m sure that we will have consensus within the party about how to bring things forward,” he said, adding that he wanted to “resurrect” the party.
Meanwhile, SIiptu president Jack O’Connor called on the party to form an alliance in opposition with the Social Democrats.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved