More than a dozen Labour councillors reject calls for leadership change

It comes after several councillors called for Brendan Howlin to stand down as party leader

More than a dozen Labour councillors reject calls for leadership change

Brendan Howlin. Picture by: Brian Lawless/PA Archive/PA Images

More than a dozen Labour councillors have said they disagree with calls from several of their colleagues for a leadership change.

It comes after four Labour councillors in recent days called for Brendan Howlin to stand down as party leader.

Pamela Kearns, Noel Tuohy, Terry O'Brien and Mick Duff have publicly called for a leadership contest in recent days.

Councillor Tuohy said he has great respect for the current party leader, but fears that the party risks becoming "totally irrelevant as a political force" in Ireland.

Recent opinion polls have shown Labour on just 3% support, two years into Deputy Howlin's leadership.

In a statement released today, however, 16 councillors - around a third of the party's councillors - from across the country say a leadership challenge shouldn't be the focus of the party at the moment.

They write: "Issues like housing, precarious work, childcare, free education are core policy areas of the Labour Party and we believe all efforts should be made to campaign on these.

"The utterances of the last few days do not have the support of all Labour Councillors and while we do support full membership engagement in any leadership election, we do not feel this is the right time for a change."

The statement adds: "What we need now is to focus on the policies outlined above and a frank and open discussion with membership about the future of the party." 

While the councillors say that recent polls have been 'disappointing', they argue there are "excellent reps on the ground working hard night and day".

The councillors who signed the statement are: Cllr Paul Bell, Cllr Ann Breen, Cllr Brendan Carr, Cllr Bobby Ireton, Cllr Deirdre Kinsgton, Cllr George Lawlor, Cllr Brian McDonagh, Cllr Andrew Montague, Cllr Rebecca Moynihan, Cllr Peter O’Brien, Cllr Dennis O’Callaghan, Cllr Rob O’Donoghue, Cllr Johnnie Penrose, Cllr Pio Smith, Cllr Grace Tallon, Cllr Alex White.