Brendan Howlin needs permission to describe how he intends to improve Labor's fortune in next year's local election before his leadership is discussed, said former party leader Joan Burton.
However, Mrs Burton refused at this stage to say whether she supported the Wexford TD in his position and added that she wanted to listen to the party's opinion.
The Dublin West TD remained largely out of the process of choosing Mr. Howlin, her successor, more than two years ago.
The remarks of the former scholar come after fourteen council members sent Mr. Howlin a letter on Friday in search of an "urgent meeting" to discuss the direction of the party, as well as its "leadership and need for change" .
A separate group of 16 council members – out of a total of 50 – previously signed a letter saying they did not "think this was the right time for change".
Mr Howlin has insisted that he will not stop. Alan Kelly, the Tipperary TD who has aspirations to lead the party, wrote in the Sunday Independent: "The public sees an absence of leadership from Labor in challenging economic inequality within the state."
did not specifically mention Mr. Howlin, and also refused to respond to requests for comments to elaborate further.
Mrs Burton said that all those who discuss the future of Labor have the interests of the party in their hearts and that the council members were invited to the pre-Dáil thinking next month.
"The meeting should focus on how the PvdA proposes to increase its voting rate and win seats and Oireachtas seats," Burton said.
She added that it would be "unfair" to discuss Mr. Howlin's leadership before outlining how Labor will increase its popularity and win more local seats next spring.
"It seems that the local and European elections will come before the general election," she said. "I would like to hear what everyone has to say."
When asked whether the discussion should also include the question of leadership itself, Ms. Burton said, "I want to wait and hear what people have to say."
] & # 39; Thirst for change & # 39;
Longford Westmeath TD Willie Penrose said that the changing leader would do nothing but stop the hunger for change.
Mr. Penrose, who withdraws from politics at the next election, said he "saw nothing new" in Mr. Kelly's article, adding that the party has already switched to "bread and roses" – approach to focusing on fundamental issues of interest to voters, such as the cost of living.
Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said that Labor could place itself at the center of the next election debate by sketching a series of requirements for support of a Fianna Fáil or Fine Gaelic government.
Mr. Ó Ríordáin, who is looking for re-election to the Dáil in Dublin Bay North, is seen as the main rival of Mr. Kelly for leadership, but according to the labor rules the leader must be a TD.
In what is seen as a swipe to Mr. ÓRíordáin, Kelly also wrote: "Too many people in Labor have to deal with a quick return to the government, a hope that a future potential administration will not succeed for a majority and needs the support of Labor.
"Honestly, the last thing a person's spirit in Labor should be in every situation an immediate return to the government."