New Labour deputy Alan Kelly expects Cabinet appointment in reshuffle

Alan Kelly

Labour’s new deputy leader Alan Kelly has insisted that he expects a Cabinet seat in next week’s reshuffle.

The junior transport minister and Tipperary TD took half the vote as he easily beat three challengers for the role after a month of campaigning.

Mr Kelly took 1,409 votes, or 51.5%, well ahead of junior science minister Sean Sherlock on 17.1%, fellow Cork TD Michael McCarthy on 16%, and Waterford TD Ciara Conway on 15.4%.

The Tipperary TD made it clear he believes he will be in Cabinet next week.

“Usually the deputy leader in the circumstances like this would be appointed to Cabinet. So yes, I would expect that would be the norm, but at the end of the day that will be a matter for the new Tánaiste.

“I think every brief is up for discussion. I think the whole Cabinet bar a number of, probably a couple of, roles, is up for discussion,” Mr Kelly said.

The minister said he wanted Labour to focus on “people who get up in the morning and do an honest day’s work”.

The deputy leader said he would hold a number of meetings with Tánaiste Joan Burton over the weekend to flesh-out a new agenda for the party.

Mr Kelly backed Ms Burton for the leadership and while she stopped short of openly endorsing him, she praised the junior minister’s abilities during the campaign.

Mr Kelly would be a strong contender for the Jobs and Enterprise Department in next week’s Cabinet shake-up if Labour can secure the key economic portfolio.

Ms Burton is expected to remain in her role as Social Protection Minister, despite becoming Tánaiste, as she is believed to want to see through a number of reforms she has instigated in the welfare area over the past three years.

Failed deputy leadership contender Mr McCarthy insisted the party has put the election defeat behind it.

“I think together, as a team, we can win back the trust and confidence of our members, we can win back the trust and confidence of the public at large,” he said after the results were announced in Dublin’s Mansion House.

Mr Sherlock said the elections had allowed the party time to heal after the bruising local and Euro election results, and have an honest debate about where it was going in government.

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