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Dublin: 3 °C Tuesday 25 February, 2020

'We don't feel it's the right time': 16 Labour councillors dismiss calls for new party leader

The councillors said that efforts should be focused on issues such as housing, childcare and free education.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin
Labour leader Brendan Howlin
Image: Leah Farrell via

A NUMBER OF Labour councillors have called for a focus on core party issues rather than a leadership change.

It comes after a number of councillors called for a change of leadership within the party.

In a statement last week, councillor Noel Tuohy called for a “democratic leadership contest within the Labour Party”.

“I regretfully fear that the Labour Party is sleepwalking towards oblivion,” he said.

“We cannot lose the founding principles, policies and values that those who support us hold so dear.”

Councillor Mick Duff said in a statement on social media that he supported Tuohy’s calls for a leadership contest and added that he has been “very concerned for months about the direction our party is heading”.

RTÉ has reported that councillors Pamela Kearns and Terry O’Brien have also called for Howlin to step down.

However, in a statement today 16 Labour councillors said that efforts should be focused on issues such as housing, childcare and free education.

“Issues like housing, precarious work, childcare, free education are core policy area of the Labour Party and we believe all efforts should be made to campaign on these,” the statement said.

“For example, the recent radical housing policy document launched by the Labour Party which advocated a State-run housing program is the work our representatives need to be focusing on.”

The statement added that the councillors “do support full membership engagement in any leadership election”, however, they “do not feel this is the right time for a change”.

“What we need now is focus on the policies outlined above and a frank and open discussion with membership about the future of the party. Recent poll numbers are disappointing but we have excellent reps on the ground working hard day and night,” it said.

The statement was signed by councillors Paul Bell, Ann Breen, Brendan Carr, Bobby Ireton, Deirdre Kingston, George Lawlor, Brian McDonagh, Andrew Montague, Rebecca Moynihan, Peter O’Brien, Dennis O’Callaghan, Rob O’Donoghue, Johnnie Penrose, Pio Smith, Grace Tallon, and Alex White.

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