Jack Quann
Jack Quann

17.50 18 Feb 2020


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Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin is joining the race for leader of the party.

His nomination follows that of his party colleague Alan Kelly, who announced his intention to run earlier on Tuesday.

Mr Ó Ríordáin told Ivan Yates the party has to reconnect with people on new ground.

"For as long as I'm a member of the Labour Party whenever there's a change in leadership or a bad general election we said the same things.

"We say 'back to basics', we say 'roll up the sleeves', we say 'work harder', we say 'Labour values' - and that is not good enough anymore because people are not listening.

"They don't see us as change - 2% of young people between 18 and 34 voted Labour in the last general election - they look at us as establishment."

"You have to completely realise you don't own people's votes, they don't have to come back to you".

He said while campaigning, people told him "how disappointed they were and let down they were by the Labour Party".

"If you let people down and people feel that you have let them down that they're not going to trust you again.

"I think there's a huge amount of goodwill within the Irish people to give us another chance to represent them, to identify us as being on the left, to identify us with issues that are going to make their lives easier.

"But I have to say, if we are not part of the change - if people don't look at us as change and look at us as the left - then we don't have a future.

"So the old answers to what we need to do for the Labour Party are gone; they're new answers now - and we have to reconnect with people where they're living now, not where they were living 10 or 15 years ago".

"We are of the left, we need to ensure that people realise we will work with others on the left.

"That we have solutions that other people also identify as solutions for housing, for childcare, for poverty, for disadvantage, for illiteracy".

Ged Nash earlier ruled himself out of the contest.

He said: "Just over one week ago, the people of Louth & East Meath honoured me with a mandate to represent them, their families and our community in Dáil Eireann.

"I am proud to have been entrusted with their trust and confidence.

"With that mandate comes enormous responsibility."

"My home town of Drogheda is at present faced with a particular set of complex challenges.

"There is a responsibility on my local Dáil colleagues and I to work night and day both locally and nationally to fix them. This is where my immediate focus must lie."

He later said that he would support Mr Ó Ríordáin's nomination, tweeting: "Proud to nominate Aodhan O Riordain for the Labour leadership.

"An energetic, proven reformer & an original thinker who has championed & delivered change in everything he has done."

Mr Ó Ríordáin has also been nominated by Senator Ivana Bacik.

Deputy Kelly has been nominated by two of the party's six TDs - Duncan Smith and Sean Sherlock.

Former TDs Jan O'Sullivan and Willie Penrose are also backing his campaign.

Brendan Howlin announced his intention to step aside as Labour leader last week.

It came after the party lost a seat in the general election, meaning they returned to the Dáil with only six seats.


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Alan Kelly Aodhán Ó Ríordáin Duncan Smith Ged Nash Ivan Yates Labour Leader Labour Party. Leadership Sean Sherlock

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