Fifth Labour councillor calls for Brendan Howlin to stand down as party leader


Brendan Howlin. Photo: INM
Brendan Howlin. Photo: INM

A FIFTH Labour Party councillor has called for Brendan Howlin to facilitate a leadership contest.

Cllr Martina Genockey, a member of the party’s Executive Board, has joined colleagues in publicly urging Mr Howlin to step aside.

She said the party has “continued to lose support both in elections and in the polls” since the Wexford TD took over as leader after the last general election.

“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,” Cllr Genocky said.

Already her colleagues in South Dublin County Council Pamela Kearns and Mick Duffy, as well as Noel Tuohy from Laois and Terry O’Brien from Kerry have called on Mr Howlin to resign.

Their statements prompted a statement from 16 other councillors who have argued it is not the right time for a change at the top.

Labour has struggled to show any signs of revival since its near wipe-out in the 2016 general election when it went from having 37 TDs to just seven.

Mr Howlin took over from Joan Burton as party leader without a contest, even though Tipperary TD Alan Kelly had expressed an interest in challenging him.

In a statement Cllr Genocky said she sought a position on the party’s Executive Borad because she wanted an influence over the party interacts with members and in its decision making.

“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 added that many in the party don’t believe their vision is being fulfilled “or that we are are not communicating that vision to the public”.

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