Alan Kelly described his election as the Labour Party’s 13th Leader as his “greatest honour” in a tweet last night.
The Tipperary TD thanked his leadership rival Aodhán O Ríordáin and said that together they would “work together to bring our Party forward.”
Mr Kelly said he wanted to give “huge thanks to the members for putting their trust in me.”
It’s my greatest honour to be elected as 13th Leader of @labour and one that I don’t take lightly. I want to thank @aodhanoriordain and his team & family. I know that we will work together to bring our Party forward.
Huge thanks to the members for putting their trust in me. 🌹 pic.twitter.com/gC0rPZXnBS
— Alan Kelly TD (@alankellylabour) April 3, 2020
Mr Kelly was elected after a leadership contest disrupted by the Covid-19 outbreak.
There was a total valid poll of 1,915 votes in the contest and a quota of 958 votes. Alan Kelly received 1,047 votes, to Aodhán Ó Ríordáin’s 868 votes.
In a statement, Aodhán O Riordáin said: “I wholeheartedly congratulate my friend and colleague Alan Kelly, who now takes on the responsibility of leading our Party.
“The values of economic justice, universal rights, equality, solidarity, compassion, inclusiveness and internationalism are safe in Alan’s hands.
“I want to especially congratulate his family who I know will rightly share in this proud day.”
Mr Kelly succeeds Brendan Howlin who announced his resignation following the party’s disastrous showing in February’s General Election where it won just six seats.
It is expected Mr Kelly will come under pressure to allow the party to be involved in Government formation talks next week, despite Mr Howlin ruling that out in the immediate aftermath of the General Election.
The sorting and counting of approximately 1,900 postal ballots began just after 2pm yesterday.
Senior counsel Conor Power was carrying out the count in a room at the offices of auditing firm Mazars.
Due to Coronavirus restrictions, a live video link has been made available to the campaign teams of the two candidates to watch the count proceed as public access was not possible.
This is not the first time Mr Kelly had sought to be leader. Mr Kelly’s election comes four years after he failed to gain a nomination from any of his fellow TDs to contest for the Labour leadership against Mr Howlin.
Mr Kelly, a former deputy leader of the party, served as Minister for Housing between 2014 and 2016 and was a junior transport minister for three years before that. He returned to Leinster House in 2011 from Europe where he had served as an MEP from 2008.