Podcast: Howlin says Labour is ‘determined to rebuild’

Inside Politics: Labour leader says Kenny should not go ahead with White House visit

Brendan Howlin appeared on the Inside Politics podcast on Wednesday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Brendan Howlin appeared on the Inside Politics podcast on Wednesday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne


After a catastrophic performance in the 2016 general election, the Labour Party must rebuild from its roots and reconnect with working class voters, according to its leader Brendan Howlin.

The Wexford TD was speaking to this week’s Inside Politics podcast and said his party is currently working on a review of its constitution, for which there have been “hundreds of submissions”.

Mr Howlin said membership of the Labour Party has increased by 1,200 in recent months, 30 new area representatives have been appointed and the process of selecting candidates to contest the next general election will get under way in the coming weeks.

When asked if new leadership at both Fine Gael and Sinn Féin in the next general election would mean it was time for a change at the Labour helm, Mr Howlin said he was still “up for the task”. He said the aim is to double the party’s seats, but he acknowledged there would not be a “bounce back” this time round.

He criticised the Government for “kicking issues a year down the road” with a view to there being a general election before they would have to be dealt with, and said the Dáil is “like a university debating society” that does not get anything done.

Asked whether he believed the Taoiseach should go to the White House on St Patrick’s Day, Mr Howlin said he should not but if he does, Enda Kenny must make it clear both in private and in public that Ireland does not support Mr Trump’s policies.

Also on the podcast, Irish Times political correspondent Fiach Kelly talks about the stories circulating in the Dáil this week, including the debate over US pre-clearance at Shannon Airport, Brexit and British prime minister Theresa May’s visit.