SHER­LOCK: Not run­ning for Labour lead­er­ship

The Corkman - - FRONT PAGE - BILL BROWNE

SEAN SHER­LOCK has ruled him­self out as a con­tender for the lead­er­ship of the Labour Party.

With Bren­dan Howlin hav­ing an­nounced on Wed­nes­day that he will step down as the leader of the Labour Party in the com­ing weeks, spec­u­la­tion has inevitably fo­cussed on who will re­place him at the helm.

De­spite Mr Howlin’s com­ments in the lead up to #GE2020, in which he said he felt Labour was ca­pa­ble of dou­bling its num­ber of TDs, the party had a dis­ap­point­ing elec­tion, re­turn­ing just six deputies and los­ing seats held by the former Tá­naiste Joan Bur­ton and former hous­ing min­is­ter Jan O’Sul­li­van.

Speak­ing on Wed­nes­day fol­low­ing a meet­ing of the Par­lia­men­tary Labour Party in Le­in­ster House, Deputy Howlin said it had been an hon­our to lead the Labour party “but now was the right time to pass on the ba­ton to a new gen­er­a­tion.”

“It has been un­doubt­edly a dif­fi­cult elec­tion for us but I be­lieve we have been suc­cess­ful in sow­ing the seeds for fu­ture growth,” he said.

Mr Howlin said he would con­tinue to rep­re­sent the peo­ple of his “beloved Wex­ford” to the best of his abil­ity and would offer his “to­tal sup­port” to his suc­ces­sor when they are elected.

It is un­der­stood the lead­er­ship con­test will get un­der­way in the next few weeks, with book­ies Paddy Power al­ready in­stalling Aodhan O’Rior­dain as the early favourite to re­place Deputy Howlin at odds of 4/5, with both Alan Kelly and Ged Nash at 9/4 and Dun­can Smith at 33/1.

One man who has cat­e­gor­i­cally ruled him­self out of the race is Mal­low-based Cork East TD Séan Sher­lock.

Speak­ing to The Cork­man on Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon Deputy Sher­lock said while it was some­thing he had “given con­sid­er­able thought to, I do not be­lieve now is the right time for me.”

“I want to fo­cus on my con­stituents, on re­build­ing the Labour Party and giv­ing ef­fec­tive op­po­si­tion to what­ever Govern­ment is elected,” he said.

Deputy Sher­lock said it he was sorry to see Deputy Howlin stand down as party leader. “I am gen­uinely sorry to see him go. He is a man of great in­tegrity who has been in­volved in pol­i­tics for all the right rea­sons,” he said.

Asked if the Labour Party would con­sider the pos­si­bil­ity of en­ter­ing into Govern­ment along­side Sinn Féin Deputy Sher­lock echoed com­ments made by Deputy Howlin ear­lier in the day.

“Labour did not get a man­date to go into Govern­ment af­ter only gain­ing six seats. The peo­ple did not want us to go into Govern­ment,” said Deputy Sher­lock.

“How­ever, I would be happy to sup­port Sinn Féin on is­sues where we share com­mon ground, but we will not be sit­ting be­side them in Govern­ment as we did not re­ceive a man­date to do so. I would like to say that I wish them well in talks over the com­ing weeks,” he added.

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