Tag Archives: Brendan Howlin

This afternoon.

Buswells Hotel, Dublin 2

The launch of the Labour Party’s Local Election Manifesto with above, from left: Fingal councillor Duncan Smith, Labour Party leader  Brendan Howlin and Dublin City Councillors Dermot Lacey, Alison Gilliand and  Mary Freehil.

Mr Howlin said:

“I hope people will look at real issues in this campaign instead of those not in the competence of local authorities, because some councils instead of doing the business of the local community are trying to do the business of the United Nations,” he said.

“What people are telling me is, where there used to be Labour councillors and aren’t anymore, we’re missed.”

Cllr Lacey said::

“We spent several hours [at Dublin city council] discussing whether we fly the Palestinian flag over Dublin city hall. On another occasion we called in the Spanish ambassador to tell them off over what is happening in Catalonia.”

Howlin accuses rival left-wing parties of acting like part of ‘the United Nations’ (Irish Examiner)


Stop that.

Rowdy ‘leftists’.


Talking to colleagues across Europe, I now hear for the first time that there is actually suggestions being made that the Irish backstop issue should be postponed. I think that’s very dangerous for us and it’s something that we have to resist.

“But it was highly predictable. I think there is still solidarity from all the discussions I’ve had certainly from social democratic colleagues in relation to this matter but I’ve no doubt that that will become a focal point over the next number of days.

“So there has to be a very clear determination set out by the Irish Government that the backstop issue, and that is a permanent backstop – the whole idea of a backstop being a temporary measure is bizarre, even as a suggestion.

“And that that matter should be put to bed so there can be no discussions on any long-term arrangements with the United Kingdom until that matter is determined in accordance with the agreement that is set out by both the European Union and the UK authorities last December.”

This afternoon.

Labour leader Brendan Howlin speaking to journalists on the plinth at Leinster House.

Howlin: Europe is ‘considering’ postponing Brexit backstop (RTE)

DUP threat over Brexit backstop deal (BBC)

This afternoon.

Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Leader of Labour Party Brendan Howlin (centre)speaking to the media at the launch of the Labour Campiagn Posters for Michael D Higgins to continue as President of ireland

Mr Howlin said:

“We have negotiated with the Michael D Higgins campaign and we have been allocated a spend of €70,000 from the overall spend.

We spent around €60,000 on the last referendum campaign and that is the sort of spend we expect to put in to the re-election of Michael D Higgins.

In terms of the number of posters, we have an initial run of 4,000. I think there will be a demand for an awful lot more.

Our organisations right across the country are looking to campaign to re-elect the president and an awful lot of people outside the Labour party family want to join us in that work.”

Labour to spend more on Michael D campaign than on abortion referendum (Independent.ie)

Sam Boal/RollingNews

From top: Members of the Labour party at its think-in at the D Hotel in Drogheda, Co Louth; a number of political correspondents outside a meeting of the party yesterday


At the Labour party think-in in Drogheda, Co Louth.

A number of political correspondents listened through a door while a private meeting of Labour party members was under way.

Further to this…

Jennifer Bray, in Times Ireland edition, reports:

Brendan Howlin was excoriated by disgruntled members at a private meeting during the Labour Party’s think-in yesterday.

Mr Howlin faced a sustained onslaught about his leadership and was told that the public was “indifferent” to him and that the manner in which he was elected leader was “disgraceful”.

During a sometimes raucous meeting, councillors also vented their frustration about “disenfranchised” voters and the direction of the party.

Alan Kelly, the Labour TD for Tipperary, attacked his party, saying that the performance of the parliamentary group was “not good enough”.

Members should be encouraged to break ranks to air their grievances, he said, while representatives in the Dáil needed to be in the media more often.

Meanwhile, this morning.

Elaine Loughlin, in the Irish Examiner, reports:

A lengthy and at times heated debate on the Labour party leadership ended with members hugging each other, Brendan Howlin has revealed.

Mr Howlin has said the issue of leadership of the Labour party has been put to bed until after the next General Election.

Brendan Howlin attacked by Labour members over ‘lacklustre leadership’ (Jennifer Bray, Times Ireland edition)

Labour Party think-in: We are ‘going nowhere fast and doomed if we don’t change’ (Daniel McConnell, Irish Examiner)

Latest: Labour party are now united, says Brendan Howlin (Elaine Loughlin, Irish Examiner)

Pics: Labour and Sean Defoe

Labour TD Alan Kelly and Labour leader Brendan Howlin

“I think Brendan needs to consider what is best for the Labour Party into the future.”

“I certainly believe from a leadership point of view, after two-and-a-half years, we haven’t been able to turn the ship around. We haven’t even looked like we’re turning the ship around.”

We need a radical shake-up. We need to change the direction of the party. We need a different vision. We need far more energy.”


Comments made by Labour TD Alan Kelly during an interview with Fran Curry on Tipp FM this morning.

Labour needs ‘radical shake-up’: Kelly challenges Howlin’s leadership (Harry McGee, The Irish Times)

Tipp FM

Previously: Must. Have. Power



Martina Fitzgerald, of RTE, reports:

Mr Howlin said he was disappointed that Mr Kelly would make any comments that would seem like the party is divided when they need to work together. He said there is a collective leadership.

He also said that all the parliamentary party, which is made up of seven TDs and six senators, bar Mr Kelly support his leadership.

Mr Howlin said the majority of the party’s 50 councillors support him.

Howlin ‘disappointed’ by Kelly’s call for significant change (RTE)

Alan Kelly during the General Election 2016 count in Thurles, Tipperary

Would somebody please give him some power, for pity’s sake.

Seven councillors have now called on leader Brendan Howlin to resign and make way for another leader.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, a number of councillors have said Mr Kelly is what the party needs and restated the calls for Mr Howlin to make way….

Councillors call for Alan Kelly to become Labour leader (Irish Examiner)

Yesterday: Labour Can Work

Previously: ‘Power Is Like A Drug…It Suits Me


Labour leader Brendan Howlin

According to Brendan Halligan, pro-democratic centre-left and centre-right political parties should all merge to stand against anti-democratic populists, authoritarians and nativists.

Brendan is wrong, in his own terms.

Ireland’s mainstream political parties already co-operate, in formal coalitions, in local government and in the operation of the Dáil and Seanad. We can work together to defend democratic values and oppose extremism without any logical requirement to merge.

There are significant differences between Ireland’s centrist parties. In every government it has joined, Labour has protected wages, social protection and State industries to the best of its ability. And we have had to fight to do so against others in government.

A single Irish centrist party, dominated by the centre-right, would have given us a lower minimum wage, lower welfare payments, widespread privatisation and a weaker economic recovery as a result.

Labour has also uniquely championed marriage equality and women’s reproductive rights, long before other parties caught up with social change on these matters.

It matters to have multiple parties. As we can see in Westminster and elsewhere, backbenchers in one big party have a lot less influence than minority parties in coalition.

Brendan rightly points to the importance of institutions in cementing democratic gains.

But he overlooks the fact that proportional representation has been institutionalised in Ireland, and the most extreme examples of populism in the western world have occurred in countries operating under less proportional referendums and voting systems, such as the disproportional electoral system that gave Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz-KDNP party in Hungary two-thirds of the seats (67 per cent) with just under half of the votes (49 per cent).

As long as we maintain proportional representation, Ireland’s people are better served by having a choice of government coalitions, each of which offers real policy differences. If choice was reduced to a national centrist party versus extremists, this would weaken Irish democracy.

In such a scenario, it is inevitable that people would eventually grow disaffected with the centrist monolith and vote for change, even if that meant electing Ireland’s answer to Donald Trump, Viktor Orbán or Boris Johnson.

As long as there are multiple parties, there will be greater freedom of speech, greater diversity of policy ideas and stronger democracy as a result.

Brendan Howlin, TD
Leader of the Labour Party,
Leinster House,
Kildare Street,
Dublin 2.

Brendan Howlin: Why Halligan is wrong about merging parties (The Irish Times letters page)

From top: Labour TD Brendan Howlin and Independent TD Michael Lowry

In the last few minutes.

Independent TD Michael Lowry responded to comments made earlier by Labour leader and TD Brendan Howlin in relation to Leo Varadkar securing Mr Lowry’s support for his nomination to the position of Taoiseach and the recent contact between the pair.

Mr Howlin said:

“I note today that you will be supported by Deputy [Michael] Lowry. I’m informed that you’ve spoken to Deputy Lowry on a couple of occasions in recent days and I read in this week’s Tipperary Star that Deputy Lowry has claimed that, in return for his support, he will have access to your office, as Taoiseach, to your officials and to your ministers. As Taoiseach, I hope you will put at end to such contact. You should not depend on his support.”

In his response, Mr Lowry said:

“Deputy Howlin, I consider your comments here today to be nasty and offensive. I have absolutely no doubt, and I’m in this house for 30 years, that your actions and your words were prompted by your deputy from Tipperary, Deputy Alan Kelly because they’d be very typical of his reaction to me in my county.

When you attack me in such a manner, as you did today, you insult the people of Tipperary, the people who vote for me, as an elected representative from this House. And I remind you Deputy Howlin that, like every member of this House here today, I have a democratic mandate from the people of Tipperary who have voted for me consistently and put me as their representative in this House.

I have enjoyed their confidence and their trust for over 30 years and I hope when the next election is called, they’ll re-endorse me as a member of this parliament for the constituency of Tipperary.”

“And, finally, I would say to you, Deputy Howlin, that I have exactly the same entitlements to access the system of Government as any other member of this House. My telephone conversations with Taoiseach-elect Varadkar were on the basis of the Programme for Government, for the policies which I was hoping that he would support.

“And on the basis of those two discussions that I had with him, I’m very happy to support him as Taoiseach and to continue to support this Government, particularly on budgetary matters because it’s not possible, as members of a parliament, to be clambering every other day for resources and monies to be spent on particular projects if you’re not prepared to stand up and to take the budgetary measures that are necessary to make sure there are funds available to implement the policies you seek.”

Watch Dail proceedings live here

Earlier: And Breathe…


In addition.

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy also had something to say about Michael Lowry’s support for Leo Varadkar, saying she finds it difficult to be…

“…preached to about budget responsibility by someone who’s been in the courts and who’s been with Revenue in relation to his own tax affairs. It’s hardly the kind of ethical, you know, ethical behaviour that should exemplify the kind of rebuilding of this country.”



From top: Dublin’s Lord Mayor Brendan Carr on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland; Dublin City Councillor, with the Green Party, Clare Byrne; and a graphic from mediator Kieran Mulvey’s report on the agreement to the Minister for Health Simon Harris

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

The Lord Mayor of Dublin Brendan Carr, spoke to Cathal MacCoille, following last night’s meeting of the board of the National Maternity Hospital where a motion re-endorsing the agreement for it to move to the St Vincent’s site was passed.

Mr Carr was one of three members who opposed the motion.

During the interview, Mr Carr told Mr Mac Coille:

A number of people stressed to me last night when that initial decision was made, they took it under duress. I thought, what I’m saying is last night, my opinion, right, I stress this is my opinion, the manner in which some members of the board were treated last night was done in a very bullying and intimidatory way. That’s my opinion.”

Following Morning Ireland, Labour party leader Brendan Howlin and two board members of the National Maternity Hospital, Sinn Féin councillor Micheal MacDonncha and Green party councillor Clare Byrne, both of whom were at last night’s meeting, spoke on Today with Seán O’Rourke.

During the segment, Ms Byrne said she understands the Religious Sisters of Charity “will have no representation on the governance” of the new hospital.

From the interview

Clare Byrne: “In three years, as a board member, that’s the first time that I’ve sat at that table with the Lord Mayor. So, he was coming to a meeting discussing an issue that has been repeatedly discussed for a number of years. He didn’t attend any of the special meetings that were called. So, it was terse meeting, there’s no denying that. But, of course it was, I mean it’s an extremely important decision that’s being made. And, obviously, it’s important to consider the opinion of the public…”

Sean O’Rourke: “And…”

Byrne: “…which we made very clear over the last week also.”

O’Rourke: “What do you make of Peter Boylan, his reason, I think, for resigning. Just to quote from him, ‘I can’t remain a member of the board that is so blind to the consequences of his decision to transfer sole ownership of the hospital to the Religious Sisters of Charity and so deaf to the concerns of the public which it serves’. You’re all deaf. And blind.”

Byrne: “No, I certainly don’t think I’m deaf and blind to the concerns of the public. I’ve listened very carefully to, and I’ve had a number of people contact me over the last few days, in particular. And I do share their concerns. Absolutely. But look, the reality is, is that we need this hospital and this is the only site that was being offered. There has been little or no support from this government or the previous government, which Brendan [Howlin] you were a member of, to do anything to end the marriage between church and State. There’s been little support for the board for this move which is a crucial service that we need for the women of Ireland. I had my child in Holles Street last year, I received an impeccable level of care but how they do it, in those conditions, is nothing short of a miracle on a daily basis.”

[Can hear Ms Byrne’s baby in background]

O’Rourke: “And the baby is obviously thriving, we’re glad to hear. There’s no doubt about it.”

Byrne: “He is, he is. But the reality is, is that building is not fit for purpose. And they’re in situations where they’re literally shoving beds in between beds and you may have a woman who has just lost a child having to recover surrounded by women who are celebrating the birth of their children. To me, that’s not fair. I think it’s cruel. That needs to change. This move to Vincent’s will provide the level of maternity care that women of Ireland…”

Brendan Howlin:Everyone is in agreement that we need a new hospital. I walked every inch of it with Dr Rhona Mahony. I went back and immediately spoke to [former minister for health] Dr James Reilly, we allocated the money to do it. Nobody is arguing that there shouldn’t be a new national maternity hospital. But we have to think generationally into the future. That it would be democratically controlled and…”

Byrne: “But Brendan with all due respect, you know that that land was owned by the Sisters of Charity when you walked the site back then, so why didn’t you do anything about it when you were in government?”

Howlin: “Because I would have insisted, had I been in government, that the control and ownership would be exactly the same as in Holles Street. That’s what I understood was going to happen.”

Byrne: “Well, my understanding from the board meeting back in November and, again, last night, is that the Sisters of Charity will have no representation on the governance or input into the clinical [inaudible]…”

Howlin: “But they will have four out of the nine members of the board…why would they want to, if they don’t have any influence, and would the sensible, sane and rational thing now to do would simply be to hand over the land, including getting compensation, getting…”

Byrne: “But that’s not a matter for the board to decide. That’s a matter for the minister to decide. The ownership…”

Howlin: “No, but the governors are the future of the hospital. Maintaining the ethos that you praised within Holles Street is a matter for the board to decide. And, you know, the notion that you’re going to have a legal agreement that [inaudible], that give you assurances, that all sounds well and good but let’s put it beyond doubt now, let’s have ownership..”

Talk over each other

Byrne: “Well, hopefully, when the minister signs off on the final memorandum of agreement, that will be put beyond doubt. And it’s up to him to ensure that that’s what happens now.”

O’Rourke: “I just want to…”

Byrne:I’m satisfied from the current governance structure that the Sisters of Charity will have no input into clinical decisions made in that hospital…”

Howlin: “Why do they want to own it then?”

Bryne: “And of course I’m concerned about that for the women of Ireland. I want to see a repeal of the Eighth Amendment. I raised those concerns repeatedly during the meeting and I’m satisfied from the responses that I received from the negotiating team, and the legal team, that that will not be the case.”


Howlin: “Kieran Mulvey was brought in and I’ve dealt with Kieran Mulvey for 20 years, to broker deals between parties in dispute. So the fact that there was a dispute between the Sisters of Charity and the National Maternity Hospital indicates that what was brokered was a settlement…”

O’Rourke: “And it was one side had ownership and the other side had control.”

Howlin: “Well, that’s the point. I don’t think it’s right that people should…”

O’Rourke: “And the minster has a veto…”

Howlin: “Well, I mean there’s going to be a board of nine, four of them are going to be appointed by the Sisters of Charity, four by the National Maternity Hospital and, if you like, the casting vote or the deciding vote is to be an eminent person, in the field of…”

Byrne: “[inaudible]…by St Vincent’s.”

Howlin: “I beg your pardon.”

Byrne:Four will be appointed by St Vincent’s

Howlin:No, no, the St Vincent’s trust, which is the Sisters of Charity.”

Byrne: “Well, my understanding is…”

Howlin: “It’s the St Vincent’s trust who are the Sisters of Charity, is that not a fact?”

Byrne: “My understanding is that the Sisters of Charity will have no input into who’s elected onto the [inaudible]”

Howlin: “You’ve attended all the meetings, you’ve said to us that the…the St Vincent’s trust is the Sisters of Charity. And so they would nominate four, maybe you haven’t a full grasp of that. And maybe…”

O’Rourke: “Just to come back Micheal MacDonncha, do you want to enlighten us on that?”

Micheal MacDonncha: “Yes, I mean, that is, what Brendan Howlin is saying there is correct and let’s remember that, from day one here, the aim of the St Vincent’s Trust was complete control. Their original approach was that they wanted to subsume the National Maternity Hospital into Vincent’s and that was the starting point and, hence, there was deadlock and hence there was negotiations and that has been revealed by the Lord Mayor. It was stated at the meeting last night that members themselves that they were under duress to endorse the agreement back in November…there was duress in the sense that it was a Hobson’s choice. It was either this agreement or no hospital.”

Listen back in full here

Thanks Ian