Members of the Social Democrats call for election of leaders

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A group of social democratic activists, including two councilors, have called for a leadership election.

In a letter to the party’s national executive, the group called for a leadership contest to allow the party to “take the next step.”

The party currently has two co-leaders, Róisín Shortall TD and Catherine Murphy TD, who have led the party since its inception six years ago.

The letter, seen by The Irish Times, says the group wants the party to continue the growth seen in the last election.

“We believe that the accession of the Social Democrats represents a new wave in Irish politics. To make this a reality, we have to be bold and we have to be strong with a united voice, ”he says.

“A lot has changed in the party in these short six years and we would love to have the opportunity to take stock of where we are and where we are going,” he said.

The group called for the party’s national executive to meet to hold a vote to call a leadership election. A motion to propose a leadership contest requires a two-thirds majority of the executive under the party constitution.

“Collective voice”

“We believe that this decision will consolidate the vision of the Social Democrats as we prepare for the next elections and we will accept the collective voice of the members,” the letter said.

Cllr Cat O’Driscoll, who sits on Dublin City Council, and Cllr Chris Pender, who is a member of County Kildare Council, are among the 16 members who signed the letter.

Other signatories include party activists heavily involved since its formation in 2015. Peter Tanham, one of the members who signed the letter, previously served on the party’s national executive.

The letter pays tribute to the current leadership duo, who it says “have done an exceptional job” but adds “now is the time to take the next step.”

“A leadership race would allow members to have a direct say in the future direction of the party. We believe that the promise of a member-led party is what has attracted so many talent to the organization and now is the time to review our structures and leadership, ”the letter said.

However, in a joint statement, the Social Democratic parliamentary party said it was “united behind co-leaders Catherine Murphy and Róisín Shortall”.

“Under their leadership, the party tripled its number of TDs in the 2020 general election and we are all focused on continuing our important work of government accountability, especially in the areas of housing, health and social welfare. ‘climate action,’ the statement read.

“We are extremely ambitious for the party – and are building a strong social democratic alternative in Ireland,” the joint statement said.

Following the 2020 general election, the party increased its number of seats in the Dáil from two to six.

In addition, Brian Sheehan, secretary general of the party, must leave his post in the coming weeks.

Mr Sheehan, one of the former directors of the Yes Equality campaign, told the Irish Times that his departure from the post of secretary-general had been reported “for some time”.

The decision is unrelated to the recent call for a leadership election.

Mr Sheehan said he had indicated he would be leaving his post after Oireachtas’ summer vacation and leaving the post in early September.


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