Labour candidate for deputy leader says she will not become Minister

If elected Ciara Conway expects to be fully involved in all significant decisions by party

Waterford TD Ciara Conway who yesterday announced that she will contest the the Labour Party deputy leader elections. Photograph: John Power

Waterford TD Ciara Conway who yesterday announced that she will contest the the Labour Party deputy leader elections. Photograph: John Power

Tue, Jun 3, 2014, 01:00

The latest entrant into the race for the deputy leadership of the Labour Party has pledged to refuse a ministerial position if she wins.

Announcing her candidature yesterday, Waterford TD Ciara Conway said she was not seeking the position to achieve executive power but to focus on the future of the party.

“I want to influence the direction of this party, to represent its values, to represent the voice of the membership honestly, without being compromised by the vested interest of Cabinet or ministerial position. I want to be an independent member of the leadership team.”

Ms Conway said if elected she would expect to be fully involved in all significant decisions affecting the party.

“I would expect to attend all meetings of Labour Ministers. I would expect to speak publicly, openly and honestly, about issues of concern whenever that was necessary.”

Ms Conway said the party leader should be a senior Cabinet member when Labour was in government but there was a strong need for someone who was willing to serve without office, who would be an integral part of the leadership, but in constant connection with the organisation at large.

“Someone to represent daily concerns and anxieties, someone to challenge our Ministers, maybe even occasionally to make our Ministers and our partners uncomfortable in the interests of all the people of Ireland.

Constraints

“Someone outside the bubble of government to articulate a constant and challenging Labour vision. Someone to be guarantor of the ordinary member’s viewpoint, and without the constraints of government office.”

Other contenders for the deputy leadership are Ministers of State Sean Sherlock and Alan Kelly and Cork South West TD Michael McCarthy.

Joan Burton and Alex White were still the only declared runners for the leadership yesterday evening.

There had been speculation that Kerry backbencher Arthur Spring would enter the race but he was uncontactable over the weekend.

When nominations close at noon today party general secretary Ita McAuliffe will meet the candidates and their agents to explain the procedure to be followed in the leadership elections.

The entire paid-up membership of the party will vote to elect the new leader and deputy leader. Each candidate will get a list of the 5,000 or so party members and their contact details and the campaign will begin.

It is expected that four hustings will be arranged at which the candidates can address party members seeking their support. Dublin, Cork, Galway and Portlaoise, where the Tom Johnson Summer School is being held, are the provisional locations for the husting.

Members who are not more than two years in arrears will be entitled to vote if they pay up their €15 a year membership fee before June 13th.

Appeals panel

An appeals panel will be established to consider the claims of members who feel they have been unfairly treated.

The closing date for the return of ballot papers will be noon on July 4th. The counting of votes will begin immediately.