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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 22 November, 2019

One TD wants to be Labour's deputy leader, but not a minister. What about the others?

Ciara Conway says she does not want to be compromised by the “vested interest” of a ministerial position. But do her rivals share that view?

Alan Kelly and Ciara Conway both want to succeed Joan Burton as Labour's deputy leader
Alan Kelly and Ciara Conway both want to succeed Joan Burton as Labour's deputy leader

LABOUR TD CIARA Conway’s pledge that she will reject any offer of a ministerial job if she is elected the party’s deputy leader next month has forced others to say where they stand on the issue.

Formally announcing her candidacy earlier this week in Waterford, Conway said that she would not accept any ministerial position if she successful in being elected and offered one.

Though she would expect to attend all meetings of Labour ministers, Conway explained that she did not want to be “compromised by the vested interest of Cabinet or Ministerial position”.

Explaining her rationale further, she said: “I believe that that the Party Leader should be a senior Cabinet member when the Party is in government.

“But there is a strong need for someone who is willing to serve without office, who would be an integral part of the leadership, but in constant connection with the organisation at large.”

The others

Her pledge is an interesting and potentially helpful ploy when you consider the desire within Labour for dissenting voices to be heard.

But with three other TDs contesting the deputy leadership, do they share a similar view? Would they take the same pledge not to take any ministerial post if offered?

In short, the answer is ‘No’. So far, anyway.

For a start two of them are already ministers. Minister of State for Public Transport Alan Kelly has so far not returned a request for comment on whether he would take the pledge.

File photo: Labour Party Seán Sherlock Source: Photocall Ireland

Meanwhile Minister of State for Research and Innovation, Seán Sherlock, told us through a spokesperson that he wouldn’t be commenting “on what other candidates are doing in terms of pledges”.

However, Sherlock has told us before about his ambition, saying in an interview with this website last year: “Tell me a politician that doesn’t want to be a Cabinet minister.”

Finally, Michael McCarthy, a TD for West Cork, also indicated he wasn’t prepared to make a similar pledge insisting it would be a matter for the next leader of the party – either Joan Burton or Alex White.

photo-3 Michael McCarthy Source: Hugh O'Connell/

“The decision around who will be what is not of huge concern to me. Post this process it will be up to Taoiseach and Tánaiste,” he said.

Asked if would make a similar pledge, he added: “I am not going to get into that. This isn’t about horse trading.”

Burton v White: Nominations close, here’s what happens now in the Labour leadership race

Read: Another Labour TD wants to be the party’s deputy leader – but doesn’t want to be a minister

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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