Brendan Howlin elected Labour leader after Alan Kelly fails to secure nomination

Alan Kelly thanks party members who supported him as he skips announcement

Brendan Howlin elected Labour leader after Alan Kelly fails to secure nomination

Brendan Howlin leaves Leinster House today with colleagues | RollingNews.ie

Former minister Brendan Howlin has been elected unopposed as Labour Party leader. 

The Wexford TD will take over from Joan Burton, who resigned from the position last week.

Flanked by colleagues at a press conference in Dublin, Mr Howlin said he was "deeply humbled" and "immensely proud" to be appointed the 12th leader of the party.

"It's hard to show that you stand for Labour's values when you have to go into government to rescue the country from the vandalism inflicted upon it by those who do not share our values," he said.

"Cleaning up the mess left by others may not have proven electorally popular, but it had to be done. It had to be done to ensure this country’s future. Now, Labour and Ireland are in a strong position to grow.

"I am confident about this party’s future, because we have values that are immutable. They’re not going away any time soon."

Outgoing deputy leader Alan Kelly last night failed to secure a seconder to allow him to contest the leadership.

The Tipperary TD did not attend today's announcement, but he wished his colleague well in a statement.

"Over the past week, I sought to ensure that the leadership of the party would be chosen by the members, by way of a contest and a democratic election," he said.
 
"I further thought that a shortened contest would allow for re-engagement with our members and ensure a contest based on vision and ideas for the future direction of the party, where the best candidate would emerge with a clear mandate.
 
"The rest of the parliamentary party took a different view to what I believe are the members' wishes and entitlement. I want to thank the huge volume of members who have confirmed that view to me."

Mr Howlin has been a TD since 1987 and was public expenditure minister in the last government.

The 60-year-old contested the position on two previous occasions, in 1997 and 2002, and was deputy leader in 1997. His nomination papers this time around were signed by former education minister Jan O'Sullivan.

Ms Burton stepped down as Labour leader on May 10th after the party lost 30 seats in February’s general election.