Labour senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin has apologised to his Labour colleagues for suggesting Brendan Howlin and Joan Burton need to make way for “generational renewal” within the party.
The apology from the former junior drugs strategy minister came at a private meeting of the Labour Parliamentary Party. According to several sources, Mr Ó Ríordáin said he regretted any offence taken after he said Brendan Howlin cannot lead a conversation on a future government with other centre-left parties.
Ó Ríordáin said Labour’s winning of 57 local authority seats had provided the basis for change in the party after the next general election, including at leadership level. “We have the basis there for a generational renewal of the Labour Party after the next general election and that’s what needs to happen,” he said on RTÉ Radio.
Asked did he mean leadership change, he said: “After that [election] myself, people like Ged Nash, Rebecca Moynihan, Deirdre Kingston are going to be part of a new conversation about what the Labour Party is for, where we go from here, having conversations with other people on the centre left about how to achieve things.”
Former tánaiste Joan Burton told the Irish Examiner veterans like herself have much to contribute.
“I am happy to make way for Aodhán anytime, I hope he is going to win a seat back. But I am also happy to serve in the Dáil, I have something to contribute,” she said.
Asked whether she thought his comments were premature given he is not even a TD, she said: “Well, Aodhán is Aodhán, and he is among Labour people a master on Twitter. It is getting a conversation going. And good luck to Aodhán and anyone else who is contesting leadership,” she said.