SHERLOCK: Not running for Labour leadership
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.