It comes after four other councillors called for a change in party leadership

A group of Labour councillors have called on party colleagues to focus on core issues rather than a possible leadership challenge to Brendan Howlin.

16 councillors from around the country say they do not feel the time is right for change.

It comes after four councillors called for a leadership contest earlier this week.

Earlier this week Portlaoise-based Councillor Noel Tuohy - one of those calling for a change - claimed the party was 'sleepwalking towards oblivion'.

Recent opinion polls have shown the party on just 3% support.

Councillor Peter O'Brien from Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown in Dublin, however, says it's the wrong time for a new leader.

Speaking after co-signing the statement with more than a dozen of his colleagues from around the country, he observed: "There's far more pressing issues in our party that we need to focus on.

"The likes of housing, healthcare, education... We recently launched, with the input of councillor, a housing policy document.

"That's where our energy should be focused on, not on a leadership election which will not change anything."