"Sleepwalking towards oblivion" - Labour councillor calls for change in party leadership

Noel Tuohy fears that the party risks becoming "totally irrelevant as a political force" in Ireland

"Sleepwalking towards oblivion" - Labour councillor calls for change in party leadership

Brendan Howlin. Photo:Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

A Labour councillor is calling for a change of leadership in the party - warning that the party could be 'sleepwalking towards oblivion'

Brendan Howlin was elected unopposed as Labour Party leader in 2016.

His election followed the resignation of former Tánaiste Joan Burton, who stepped down after the party lost more than two dozen seats in the most recent general election.

Labour has continued to struggle in opinion polls, with the most recent poll putting the party at just 3% support.

Noel Tuohy says while he has great respect for Brendan Howlin, he fears that the party risks becoming "totally irrelevant as a political force" in Ireland.

The Portlaoise-based councillor says it is time for change.

He argued: "We can't ignore the polls for ever. In the most recent poll, we were down to 3% - and the margin for error is 3%.

"I think maybe we need a new direction. I have huge regard for the integrity and capabilities of Brendan Howlin, both for his constituency and his country. But I do think the time comes when it just doesn't click, and the public don't seem to get it."

Councillor Tuohy believes that Deputy Howlin resigning and opening up a leadership contest would be the 'right thing to do'.

He added: "Even if Brendan felt himself that he was doing a good job... put himself before the membership.

"That didn't happen last time, and that caused endless problems - seven TDs decided who was going to be leader of the party, and that didn't sit well with a lot of the leadership."

He suggested that he would 'personally prefer' Alan Kelly as party leader, saying the Tipperary TD would be a 'change from what we've had up to this'.