Labour in Cork are split over party leadership

Labour in Cork are split over party leadership
FILE PHOTO: Alan Kelly has once again today 31/8/2018, made reference to the leadership of the Labour Party. Without naming current prty leader, Brendan Howlin, he called into question the lack of energy and direction displayed by the party since the new leader took over. Photo:

CORK Labour members are split over the leadership of the party after Tipperary TD Alan Kelly called into question the confidence of party members and the public in leader Brendan Howlin.

Mr Kelly stated the party needs a “radical shake-up” and is interested in becoming leader himself.

The party has failed to regroup following its disastrous campaign in the 2016 General Election where it lost 30 out of 37 Dáil seats.

Labour's Cork constituency council will meet on Tuesday where the matter of leadership will be discussed.

Former Cork City Lord Mayor Michael O'Connell said he believes Mr Kelly should succeed Howlin.

“Over the last two and a half years since Brendan Howlin took over the party has not moved forward at all," he said.

“In fact, it has probably gone backwards. He certainly doesn't have any clear vision on where the party needs to go and more importantly, we've got some excellent candidate set to run in the local elections in 2019.

“In their own right, they deserve to be elected but they are running under the banner of the Labour Party which has a leader that people don't have confidence in and I think that needs to be addressed and we need to see a change at the top “In 2016, we lost the largest number of seats we ever lost in the party and Brendan Howlin set out his vision at that time to take it forward. What he wanted hasn't occurred because, in my opinion, he has failed to react to the regular people out there who have been Labour supporters all their lives.

“The Labour Party needs to regain the trust of people and I think Alan Kelly could be the man to do that,” he added.

However, former TD Kathleen Lynch, who lost her seat in the 2016 election, said Mr Howlin should be supported by party members “Brendan Howlin is the leader and he took over the role when the party was at a very low ebb. Alan is entitled to his view and he has always held the view that he wants to be leader. I don't have a difficulty with that,” she said.

“I'm sure his time will come but Brendan is the leader and on the basis, he deserves our loyalty and respect for taking over the party at a very difficult time,” she added.

Speaking on C103FM, Cork East TD Seán Sherlock said Kelly was “throwing down the gauntlet” to Howlin.

“While he said there needs to be a change of direction, he hasn't said what that change of direction needs to be. I am keeping my counsel on this for the time being”.

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