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Alan Kelly to resign as Labour leader as party TDs 'lose collective confidence' in his leadership

Kelly said he was “surprised” to be informed of their decision by that he “accepted it immediately”.

Alan Kelly resigns.
Alan Kelly resigns.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Updated Mar 2nd 2022, 8:02 PM

ALAN KELLY IS stepping down as leader of the Labour party, saying that he was informed by party TDs and Senators that they had “lost collective confidence in my leadership”. 

Kelly said this news “was a surprise to me” but that he “accepted the decision immediately”. 

“We had a number of frank discussions in recent weeks, if I’m being honest, and especially over the last week or so,” he said.

I have to acknowledge that we haven’t been able to move on as a party in the opinion polls, and I have a deep regret about that. 

A Tipperary TD, Kelly was elected as leader of the Labour party less than two years ago in April 2020.

Speaking this evening, he said that the Covid-19 pandemic “restricted my ability to put forward our politics”.

“I did find it difficult to get momentum, I genuinely found it quite difficult. It was a strange time for the country. I think we supported the government of the day in a national crisis, we didn’t do populism,” he said. 

Kelly also said that felt his party is “very much associated” with the Fine Gael-Labour government of 2011-2016 and that it was difficult for “those of us who were involved in that government to move on”.  

“And I think it’s time now we did,” he added. 

Kelly’s his future was placed into doubt after Labour parliamentary partner members had met to discuss his leadership.

Kelly was joined at the Plinth at Leinster House by his party TDs and Senators but none of the members answered questions from the media. 

Alan Kelly resigns 008 Media and the Labour parliamentary party outside Leinster House this evening. Source: Rollingnews.ie

Emotional 

In an emotional address, he said he will always have more in common with his party colleagues than anyone from any other politics.

He said he hasn’t always made the right decisions, but what he has done was in the best interests of the people he worked with, and the Labour Party. He said he has worked around the clock to do the best for the party, and has been truthful to who he is as a person – and that will never change. 

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“I have no interest in a rancorous and divisive debate in the party,” he said. 

I guarantee you I will do everything I can to support that leader and the party that I have done all my life. When I was a young child in school, I said one day I’d be a TD for the Labour Party. And my teacher years later told that story. I will always support the Labour Party.

Asked did he feel hard done by that he did not get the chance to lead his party in a general election, Kelly said: “I’m not gonna lie to you, I’m disappointed.”

I was elected to the Seanad, I was elected to the European Parliament, I was elected to the Dáil. I was a junior minister, I was a senior minister and I was elected deputy leader and I was elected senior leader. Every election I’ve ever contested, either internal or external, I have been very, very fortunate to have won and I would have appreciated the opportunity to have led us into the next general election, to show what I could have done as leader. But I respect that that will not be the case.

The Journal understands that there have been tensions at the party’s parliamentary party meetings since the party’s Dublin bay South by-election win by Ivana Bacik on 8 July last year.

Concerns have been raised by party representatives about Kelly’s leadership style and Labour’s national polling numbers in the low single digits. A staffing issue has also been a cause of disquiet within the party. 

Kelly said that he would remain as leader until a new leader is chosen and he will continue as a TD for Tipperary. He said he “won’t make any rash decisions” about whether he will stand for election in the next general election. 

“In life you never make rash decisions in times like this. But it is my intention to stay on as a TD, yes. I’m very proud of being elected three times by the people of Tipperary,” he said. 

 - With reporting by Christina Finn, Aoife Barry and Gráinne Ní Aodha

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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