Brendan Howlin has said the leadership issue in the Labour party is now settled with until the next election.

Speaking on the second day of his party's think-in in Drogheda, Mr Howlin described yesterday's closed session where party members discussed his leadership as a "uniting experience".

"We have ventilated all of that. At the very end of it, it was a very uniting experience," he told reporters.

He joked that he "ended up hugging a lot of people at the end". 

The party spent several hours yesterday in a private session on party strategy where critics of Mr Howlin's leadership outlined their concern at the party's failure to gain momentum in opposition.

Mr Howlin said the party was now "all envigoured to up their game". 

The party launched its housing policy document today and will also participate in a workshop on Brexit.

Mr Howlin also said he did not support Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan's call for a ban on taking photographs of gardaí on duty.

"In a free society people have an absolute entitlement to take pictures of any public servant. We have to protect public servants in the course of their duty, and prosecute people who threaten public servants. 

"But the notion that normal civil liberties would be curtailed like that is something the Labour party would not support," he said.

On the current occupation of empty houses in Dublin, Mr Howlin said he applauded those undertaking peaceful protest, describing it as a "national scandal" that so many houses lay vacant.

But he said the local authorities needed to exercise their legal right to purchase empty properties and "get the finger out" in taking them into public ownership.