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Alan Kelly says forming a government is 'up to other parties' after winning Labour leadership race

Dublin TD Ó Ríordáin conceded before the final result last night.

Alan Kelly at  his campaign launch last month.
Alan Kelly at his campaign launch last month.
Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated Apr 4th 2020, 12:50 PM

TIPPERARY TD ALAN Kelly was elected the new leader of the Labour Party after he beat Dublin TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin in the race with the result announced late last night.

This afternoon, the new Labour leader said it’s “up to other parties” to form a government with Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil likely to need the support of another party to form a coalition.

The postal ballot poll for the Labour Party leadership closed yesterday.

Out of a ballot of 1,916, Kelly received 1,047 to Ó Ríordáin’s 868 votes. One vote was spoiled.

This translated to Kelly winning by 55% to 45%. 

Kelly said on Twitter that it was his “greatest honour” to be elected the 13th leader of the Labour party.

“I know that we will work together to bring our party forward,” he said. “Huge thanks to the members for putting their trust in me.”

Tweet by @Alan Kelly TD Source: Alan Kelly TD/Twitter

In a follow-up statement this afternoon, Kelly said his party “will offer constructive support for the national effort” in the coming weeks and months.

“As leader I will of course continue to engage with all parties but when it comes to forming a government we have been very clear since the general election, that it is up to other parties to take their responsibilities seriously and it is up to them to form a stable government,” he said.

It seems that some parties are more interested in playing politics than solving the crisis the people of this country face.

Ó Ríordáin, who conceded via Twitter shortly before 10pm based on early tallies, congratulated Kelly on his imminent election and said “I know Labour’s values are safe in his hands”.

He also thanked outgoing leader Brendan Howlin and thanked his own campaigners and supporters. 

Due to the extraordinary circumstances arising from the public health measures in place to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, changes were made to the usual arrangements that would apply for a Labour leadership election count.

Only the appointed returning officer Conor Power SC was allowed to sort and count the ballots in a room in Mazars in Dublin.

A video link from the count room was made available to appointed observers and election agents of each candidate. When the count was completed the returning officer made the result announcement via a live Facebook video feed on the Labour Party page. 

Tweet by @Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Source: Aodhán Ó Ríordáin/Twitter

The leadership contest kicked off last month when Brendan Howlin announced he would resign as leader following the outcome of February’s General Election. 

Labour failed to capitalise in an election which saw voters move further to the left and put Sinn Féin out in front as the party with most support.

Howlin’s party secured just six seats with some of its more prominent parliamentary figures, including Joan Bruton and Jan O’Sullivan, losing their seats. 

Kelly’s leadership bid centred around rebuilding the party from the ground up and returning to the roots and core values of the party.

“When people work and pay their taxes, they deserve a be able to afford a home, equality across all education services, that if they are sick or a loved on is sick, that the state will look after them.”

Kelly made no secret about his ambitions to be leader of the party in the past, going so far as to putting a timeline on Howlin’s departure. 

With reporting from Sean Murray

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