Belfast Telegraph

Joan Burton is Irish Labour Party's new boss in South

By Colin O'Carroll

The Irish Labour Party elected its first woman leader yesterday after the resignation of Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore.

Joan Burton will now become Tanaiste, or deputy leader, in the embattled coalition.

The Taoiseach has congratulated Ms Burton on her election as the new Labour Party leader, and he has nominated her for Tanaiste.

the new Labour leader has made "no commitment" to any of her party colleagues regarding a place at cabinet.

Speaking as she entered the count centre at the Mansion House in Dublin, Ms Burton said that she intended to make the building of new homes a central priority for the Government.

The Dublin West TD romped home in the leadership contest as three out of four Labour members supported her bid. She secured 77.5% of the vote and has now been formally endorsed as leader.

Her competitor Alex White admitted yesterday it was "Joan's day" as he entered the count centre. He said he phoned Ms Burton in the afternoon and congratulated her on becoming the new party leader.

However, Mr White's portion of the overall vote means he is in no way guaranteed a place at the cabinet table.

He told supporters that in dealing with the economic crisis in Government, Labour had perhaps governed too much with the head and not enough with the heart.

She said that the party would have to focus more in the future on social repair, and govern more with the heart.

Belfast Telegraph


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