Labour Senator Kevin Humphreys has said that calls for a leadership contest in the Labour party are "immensely damaging".

Speaking on RTÉ's This Week programme, Mr Humphreys said the four councillors who had called for a change of leader were "not doing the party any good" and "splitting the party".

He also accused Cllrs Pamela Kearns, Noel Tuohy, Terry O'Brien and Mick Duff of causing controversy where there was none.

Mr Humphreys said the party membership should be instead concentrating on connecting with the public and on developing party policies.

He also said that party leader Brendan Howlin should lead the party into the next election.

Speaking on the same programme, Mr Tuohy called for Mr Howlin to step down saying that he has not connected with people and Labour is "sleepwalking towards oblivion".

The Laois Councillor also said he would like to see TD Alan Kelly lead the party

However, Mr Humphreys would not be drawn on whether he would support Mr Kelly to lead the party

He said that after the next election there would be many new faces, including a number of young women, elected to the party who could be leadership contenders if Mr Howlin did decide to step aside at any stage.

Labour TD Jan O'Sullivan also told RTÉ News that she was angry at calls for a new party leader.

The Limerick TD said it was a "complete distraction" and she said the vast majority of public representatives and members do not want it.

She also said it was a "waste of energy and time" as she did not believe a leadership contest would happen.