Labour TD Ged Nash has ruled himself out of contention to be the next leader of the Labour party. The Drogheda-based Deputy announced this morning that he would not contest the Labour leadership race which officially got underway on Monday.
Brendan Howlin announced his resignation last week in light of another poor Labour showing in the General Election. Nash, Alan Kelly and Aodhan O Riordan were all considered early contenders to replace him but Nash is the first of the three to officially rule himself out. Kelly is expected to launch his candidacy later on Tuesday.
“I have given this huge reflection over the last week or so. I have come to the decision that I will not run in this election for the leadership of the Labour party,” Nash told The Michael Reade Show on LMFM on Tuesday.
“Having been only elected again last week after a four year hiatus in the Seanad, I feel like my primary responsibility is to the people of Louth and East Meath. It took me four years to regain the trust of my neighbours, my community. I value that. It is no small thing.
“I feel huge onus and responsibility to do everything I can to represent their best interests and to focus entirely on those interests.”
When asked whether he felt the role of Labour leader may have compromised his role as a TD for Louth, Nash refuted that suggestion but said he felt putting his local constituents first was key.
“They may very well be diluted,” Nash said of his responsibilities to Louth and East Meath. “It took four years to regain the trust and confidence of the people whose trust and confidence I lost. I don’t want in any way to undermine that. That is not in any way to say this was an easy decision. It wasn’t.
“I’ve had huge encouragement from people across the country – established TDs and Senators, former party leaders, grandees of the party, senior people in the Trade Union moment and people in civil society encouraging me to run. But after a lot of reflection and consultation, I came down on the side of not running at this point in time.”
Speaking to LouthNow.ie last week, Nash – speaking about a potential party leadership bid – said, “Not for the first time I’ve said, at some point in the future I would like to be considered as a leader of the party. It’s going to be up to myself and colleagues over the next days over what the future holds.”
I’ve decided not to contest this election for the @labour leadership.
My primary responsibility is to the people of Louth & East Meath who have asked me to represent them again and I look forward to playing a key part in the revitalisation of our party.
More on LMFM at 9.30am
— Ged Nash TD (@geraldnash) February 18, 2020
In a statement released to coincide with his announcement, Nash also said; “My home town of Drogheda is at present faced with a particular set of complex challenges. There is a responsibility on my local Dáil colleagues and I to work night and day both locally and nationally to fix them. This is where my immediate focus must lie.
“I look forward to playing a full and central role in the reorientation, renewal and revitalisation of our Party under a new leader.”