Alan Kelly - Labour Party "needs to reflect"

Kelly said he was "up for the fight" of rebuilding Labour

Electoral register, Alan Kelly, overstated, investigation, response,

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In a very tight contest, Labour Party Deputy Leader and Minister Alan Kelly managed to just retain his seat.

This makes him one of the party's few TDs to avoid the wipe out, which has left Labour perilously close to missing the seven seat requirement for full speaking rights in the Dáil chamber.

Speaking to Newstalk, Kelly said Labour will need to take time to reflect on themselves after this weekend:

"I think the Labour Party needs to reflect on our brand and what we stand for, and we need to start tomorrow," he said. "Every one of us who has been elected needs to think about how we're going to share that burden and rebuild the party".

Kelly said he was "up for the fight" of rebuilding Labour, a project he thinks will take between five and ten years.

But when questioned about whether he was about to challenge Joan Burton for the party leadership, he said it was "much too early" to talk about that. 

He expressed his delight at retaining his seat in Tipperary, but said his heart went out to his colleagues who had lost their seats.

Kelly defended Labour's record in government, saying the party carried "a huge load over the last five years" and took unpopular decisions, but ultimately brought Ireland back to growth while reducing unemployment.

"We made the decisions for the betterment of our country", he said, acknowledging that Labour need to reexamine their roots as representatives for workers.

"The Labour Party is the party of work. We support working people and workers all over the country... and we need to refocus in on that... on our message and what we stand for".

Labour's stance in opposing the Bank Guarantee did not earn the praise of many voters, but Kelly said the final word rests with the Irish electorate:

"The people are sovereign. It's as simple as that. People make the decisions".

Ultimately, he said, Labour did their best, and that is something he continues to stand over their achievements in government.