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Labour must win back younger voters and cannot go ‘back to basics’ – O Riordain

Labour TD Aodhan O Riordain launched his bid for the Labour leadership and said the party could not look backwards.

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Aodhan O Riordain is seeking the Labour Party leadership (Aoife Moore/PA)

Aodhan O Riordain is seeking the Labour Party leadership (Aoife Moore/PA)

Aodhan O Riordain is seeking the Labour Party leadership (Aoife Moore/PA)

Labour TD Aodhan O Riordain has launched his bid to become the next Labour leader, saying the party needs to re-connect with younger voters and cannot go “back to basics”.

The Dublin Bay North TD announced he will seek the leadership, setting up a contest with Tipperary deputy Alan Kelly.

His leadership rival Mr Kelly had said it was time for the party to go “back to basics” when he launched his campaign earlier this week.

Launching his campaign for the Labour leadership in the community hall in Dublin’s Sheriff Street, Mr O Riordain pledged to rebuild his party on the basis of traditional Labour values.

He said there was a need to focus on what Labour can deliver in the future, and to return to being the campaigning heart of Irish politics.

He said: “We’ve had many setbacks in our long history, which have often led to calls to go ‘back to basics’.

“But, while we’re proud of our roots, we cannot afford to look backwards.

“We have to grow and develop if we’re to win back trust and confidence and be relevant into the future.

“We want the Irish people to trust us again.

“We cannot do that if we come up with the same answers that we have had for as long as I have been a member of the Labour Party.

“Back to basics, work harder, back into communities.

“Every single Labour representative is in their communities, working hard.

Keelin Shanley funeral
Alan Kelly is also seeking the post (Brian Lawless/PA)

“But they are hamstrung, I think, by a sense that the public have about our party.”

He said the party needs to rebuild its popularity with younger voters after a poor showing in the general election as only 2% of voters aged between 18 and 24 had voted for the Labour Party.

“Either we say they are wrong, or there is something wrong with us.”

He said he would place workers’ rights at the centre of “a bold policy agenda”.

“A bold policy agenda, including an end to failed market-driven polices for health, housing and childcare, and a series of ‘people’s budgets’ that go beyond economic performance to deliver sustainable economic equality.

“A campaigning party that would listen and campaign with communities in towns, villages, and workplaces across Ireland, and a fit-for-purpose party organisation with the highest possible standards of professionalism, effectiveness, and accountability.”

The leadership will be decided by a membership vote, to be announced on April 3.

PA