Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has strongly backed Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore, insisting that he is doing a very strong job in projecting the image of Ireland overseas.

Speaking in Kerry, Ms Burton said Mr Gilmore had her support and that of the Labour Parliamentary Party in doing what was an important job.

She acknowledged that the Meath East by election had produced a disappointing result for Labour but maintained that the electorate had moved towards whoever had been perceived as the likely winner.

The winner had been identified as Helen McEntee very early on, she added.