Labor must show Howlin what his plans are, says Joan Burton

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."

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