New Labour leader must have long-term plan, Lynch claims

By Eoin English

The Labour Party has the material to rebuild but needs a new leader with the vision to maximise that potential, its Cork South Central TD Ciaran Lynch believes.

Mr Lynch was speaking this afternoon in the Ireland South count centre in Cork shortly after Eamon Gilmore announced his resignation as party leader.

Mr Lynch said Labour's new leader will be presented with an opportunity to build on the party's strong local structures but he said that person must have a clear long-term plan and strategy to rebuild the party which was devastated in the local elections on Saturday.

The party lost all seven seats on Cork City Council - including sitting Lord Mayor Catherine Clancy - leaving it without any representation on the council for the first time since the 1920s.

But citing their strong local election campaign teams, many of whom are in the 20s, Mr Lynch said the material to rebuild the party is there.

"What we now need is a leader who will develop and maximise on that potential," he said.

However, Lynch, who will chair the banking inquiry, refused to be drawn on who he might support, with speculation mounting that Brendan Howlin, Joan Burton and Alex White could be in the running.

"I wouldn't be prescriptive about who the next leader should be," he said.

"The one thing I know is that I won't be contesting it and I'll be beholden to nobody in that contest because my position in the banking inquiry has been set unanimously by the Dail, not by the government."

He said all party members will be involved in the leadership selection process and will be part of the type of renewal and reform the party needs.

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