Labour general election candidate calls for leadership contest

Pressure on Brendan Howlin as Martina Genockey says it would help party rebuild

Labour leader Brendan Howin has come under further pressure for a leadership contest Photograph:  Gareth Chaney Collins

Labour leader Brendan Howin has come under further pressure for a leadership contest Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

 

Labour leader Brendan Howin has come under further pressure as a general election candidate has joined other party members in calling for a leadership contest.

Martina Genockey, who will stand in Dublin South West, said the party has continued to lose support and a contest would “give a renewed sense of urgency” to its rebuilding. She is the first election candidate to make such a call.

Ms Genockey’s statement comes as a group of councillors, understood to be about 12 of 50 across the country, are preparing to send Mr Howlin a letter calling for him to stand aside.

Dermot Lacey, chair of the Labour councillors group, has already sent a letter to Mr Howlin asking him to hold a meeting with councillors.

It is understood councillors will be invited to the Labour pre-Dáil think next month, and this could be the forum at which Mr Howlin meets local representatives.

However, the additional letter will come from councillors calling for Mr Howlin to stand aside. Although they had hoped for about half of all councillors to sign such a letter, sources said the message will now go in and others can join in the call if they so wish.

The statement from Ms Genockey, a South Dublin county councillor, follows on from five other councillors earlier this month calling for a change of leadership.

Pamela Kearns and Mick Duff of South Dublin County Council, Noel Tuohy from Laois and Terry O’Brien from Kerry and Martin Farren from Donegal have already said Mr Howlin should resign.

This led to 16 other councillors saying they “do not feel this is the right time for a change” at the top of the party.

Ms Genockey, who is also a member of the Labour executive board, said she disagrees “that now is not the right time for a leadership election”.

She said it would “give the party the chance to listen to members all over the country about how to get the party back to its best”.