HOUSING Minister Jan O’Sullivan says Labour has fared better than the national average in Limerick.
Speaking to reporters at the UL Arena, she rejected suggestions that the party needed a change in leadership, and said now is the time to “analyse the results very honestly.”
Labour look likely to hold onto the same number of seats it has in Limerick city, with Frankie Daly, Elena Secas and Cllr Joe Leddin all likely to be elected.
Ms O’Sullivan denied running two candidates on the northside had backfired.
“Of course we wanted two seats. You are always going to run an appropriate number of candidates for what you hope would happen on a good day, but it hasn’t been a good day for Labour nationally. I think in Limerick, we have succeeded in doing better than the national average,” she said.
She urged party supporters not to panic: “We have gone through the toughest time, and this has been extraordinarily tough.”
And backing Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, she added: “I don’t think we should even be considering a new leader. We should be looking at the party as a whole. I don’t think any other leader would have brought us back a better result in this election.”
The Labour party’s director of elections in Limerick Joe Kemmy says they have “ran the best campaign of their lives”.
“We have exceeded by a fairly sizeable chunk the percentage vote that Labour has received throughout the country. I would put it down to running a very good cammpaign and also having good candidates,” he said.
The long serving Labour member defended his party’s strategy of running two candidates in areas, a move which now sees sitting councillors Tomas Hannon and Tom Shortt fighting to save their seats.
“You run the risk if you run two candidates that one is going to lose out. But you run the risk if you run one candidate of winning no seat at all. We would have hoped Tom Shortt would have transferred to Frankie Daly and helped him over the line,” he said.
Mr Kemmy - a brother of the late TD Jim - believes Clllr Hannon has been unlucky with the rise of Sinn Fein and Cllr Maria Byrne polling very well in City West.