Republic of Ireland news

Enda Kenny praises Joan Burton as ex-Tanaiste quits as Labour leader

Former Tanaiste Joan Burton, centre,  surrounded by party colleagues on her way to a press conference at the RHA Gallery in Dublin where she announced she would be stepping down as Labour party leader. Picture by Brian Lawless, Press Association
Ed Carty, Press Association

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has praised Joan Burton for helping rescue the Republic's economy as she resigned after less than two years as Labour leader.

The former tánaiste's move leaves her six Dáil colleagues to vie for the job of resurrecting the party after its election annihilation.

The frontrunners are Alan Kelly, environment minister in the last coalition and the bookmakers' favourite, and Sean Sherlock, a former junior minister and a less divisive figure.

Ms Burton, TD for Dublin West, will remain in the job until her successor is appointed but refused to be drawn on her preferred candidate or whether she wanted to see an agreed leader.

She said she stood by her decision to go into government in 2011, despite the hammering her party took in the February general election in which it lost 30 of its 37 Dail seats.

She accepted not everyone has experienced the limited economic revival and said her party could not deliver quickly enough.

"We didn't do everything right but I believe we left Ireland a better place than we found it - the true test for any party in government," she said.

Mr Kenny thanked Ms Burton for her work over five years in coalition.

"Many of the tough decisions that had to be taken to turn the country around were unpopular and politically difficult but Joan Burton and her colleagues were steadfast in doing what was right for the country," he said.

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Republic of Ireland news