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Fresh calls for Brendan Howlin to agree to Labour leadership contest

Labour Party leader Brendan Howlin is facing fresh calls to concede to a leadership contest from one of his General Election candidates.

Cllr Martina Genockey, who is the party's candidate in the Dublin South-West constituency has argued a contest would re-energise the flagging party's fortunes.

Ms Genockey said she disagreed with 16 of her council colleagues who said now is not the time for the leadership issue to be dealt with.

In a statement, she said: “I agree with a lot of the statement released by the 16 councillors last week - we have excellent reps working extremely hard for their constituents and the party, and also in relation to the issues on which they say we should focus".

"However, I disagree that now is not the right time for a leadership election. I do not feel that such a contest would hinder the work of the party on these, and other important issues, but in fact give the party the chance to listen to members all over the country about how to get the party back to its best," she said.

She said she and her colleagues need to focus the party on those that need it most.

"I feel that a significant amount of reps, members and voters – both current and former – either don’t feel that is the vision of the party at the moment, or that we are not communicating that vision to the public," she said.

"There has been over two years since the last general election and over four since the last leadership contest in the party. In that time the party has continued to lose support both in elections and in the polls.

[quote]To that end I think that a leadership contest would give those involved a chance to lay out their vision for the Labour Party and give a renewed sense of urgency to the rebuild of the party.[/quote]

Mr Howlin was elected leader in 2016 in controversial circumstances after former deputy leader Alan Kelly was denied a chance to contest the post.

Mr Kelly said he would give Mr Howlin six months to change the party's misfortune but later backed away from those comments.

The party's poll ratings have languished at below 10%, and has dropped to just 3% in some polls.