Alan Kelly to resign as Labour leader after losing support of party

Delivering a public statement at Leinster House on Wednesday evening, Mr Kelly acknowledged that the party had not made progress in the opinion polls under his leadership.
Alan Kelly to resign as Labour leader after losing support of party

Former Irish Labour Party leader Alan Kelly (centre) speaking to the media outside Leinster House after resigning on Wednesday evening. 

Alan Kelly has announced he is to resign as Labour Party leader after his parliamentary colleagues told him they had lost confidence in him.

Delivering a public statement at Leinster House on Wednesday evening, Mr Kelly acknowledged that the party had not made progress in the opinion polls under his leadership.

He said: “I am resigning as leader of the Labour Party.

“I was advised by my parliamentary colleagues on Tuesday morning that they had lost collective confidence in my leadership.

“This was a surprise to me but I accept the decision.

“We had a number of frank discussions in recent weeks.” 

Opinion polls

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

“We didn’t get the bounce I would have hoped for over the past two years, and the pandemic restricted my ability to put forward my politics and bring forward the progress I had really hoped for.

“It is also a reality that it has been hard for us as a party very much associated with 2011-2016, for those of us who were involved in that government to move on.

“I think it is time now that we did.” 

Mr Kelly was linked to the Fine Gael-Labour coalition between 2011-2016 and the introduction of tough austerity measures.

The PA news agency understands that Ivana Bacik, who won a seat in the Dublin Bay South constituency last July, is tipped to succeed Mr Kelly.

Mr Kelly, known for his at-times combative exchanges in the Dail, has not been able to reverse the party’s static polling rates, which have hovered in the low single digits in recent months.

He took over the party two years ago from Brendan Howlin as the country grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic in the wake of the Irish general election in 2020.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Kelly had been quizzing Taoiseach Micheál Martin in the Dáil on the Government’s decision not to expel the Russian ambassador.

One major success for the party during his time as leader was the election of Ms Bacik last summer.

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