This time last year Aodhán Ó Ríordáin lost out in the Labour Party leadership contest to Alan Kelly.
Since then, as the party's spokesman on Education, Enterprise and Trade, he has had a strong media presence during the pandemic as an opposition figure with first-hand experience of the school system.
Deputy Ó Ríordáin told the RTÉ News Your Politics podcast that there was merit in a merger with the Social Democrats.
He added he wanted to see the politics of parties, such as the Social Democrats, to succeed. While there have been no discussions between the Labour Party and the Social Democrats, he said it could be a merger of equals.
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