The Labour leader Brendan Howlin has said the party will stand as an independent party and will not be beholden or secondary to anyone else.

Mr Howlin’s opening address at his party’s conference in Wexford, has effectively ruled out pacts with other parties ahead of the next General Election.

Around 1,000 members of the Labour Party are due to attend the annual conference.

Following last year’s bruising General Election, the theme of tonight’s Labour’s conference has been about rebuilding the party.

Earlier, Mr Howlin said he hopes to win back communities that have fallen out with the party since the last General Election.

Mr Howlin said he hopes for a significant increase in support for the party but he would not be drawn on how many seats it would win.

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It is the party's first conference since its electoral collapse in last year's general election and also since Mr Howlin became leader.

Deputy Howlin said the party was the most prepared party for an election, as it had already begun its selection conventions.

He acknowledged that the last five years have been bruising for Labour.

He also said Labour would not be involved in any government unless its policy platform defined the core of any future government.

Delegates are due to vote on a new constitution and select SIPTU President Jack O'Connor as the party's chairperson.

In last year's general election, Labour's vote collapsed to 6% with the party losing 30 seats on its 2011 performance.

Over the last year its position in the opinion polls has not changed, despite recent high-profile interventions on the garda controversies and on the water issue.

As the party continues to regroup, its leadership is aiming to boost morale and introduce further organisational changes with delegates voting on a new constitution.

New rules would broaden how candidates for party leader can be nominated beyond the current position which is confined to TDs.

Delegates will also vote on almost 100 motions.

One of the most controversial includes a call to rule out any future pre-election deals with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael.

Another from Labour Youth is critical of social welfare cuts affecting young people introduced by the last government.

Other motions seek to reinstate town councils, introduce a living wage, a new national waste waiver scheme and address the gender pay gap.

Mr O'Connor has said he is taking on the roll of chairperson as he believes the party is the only one that will pursue the kind of policy will benefit all.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr O'Connor said someone with his experience in the trade union movement might have something to bring to the position.

He appealed to everyone who had left the party or had become disillusioned with it over the years, to come back and to reassert their voice.

He said all those, even people outside of the party who share the same social democratic perspective, should be talking to one another.