Cork East TD Seán Sherlock.

Cork East TD Seán Sherlock is expected to seek nominations to contest the leadership battle in the Labour party, following the resignation of Joan Burton on Tuesday of this week.

Deputy Sherlock is seen by many as a future leader of the party, which suffered a catastrophic collapse during this year’s general election and chose to opt out of government formation talks in the aftermath.

While refusing to be drawn on the matter of Labour leadership this week, Deputy Sherlock complimented his former boss on her stint as leader of the party.

“Joan has made an invaluable contribution to the Labour party and to Irish political life.”

“She is someone who has blazed a trail in Irish society and I look forward to continuing to work with her in this Dáil term.”

Deputy leader Alan Kelly is seen as the favourite to fill the vacant position and it is anticipated that the Tipperary TD will announce his candidacy on this week’s Late Late Show on RTÉ.

Whether Kelly, whose stint as Minister for the Environment, Community & Local Government saw him oversee the unpopular introduction of water charges, would be able to lead a turnaround in Labour fortunes ahead of the next general election remains to be seen.

Former Public Expenditure Minister, Brendan Howlin has yet to rule himself in or out of the leadership race, saying this week he’ll give ‘serious reflection’ before announcing his decision. Deputy Howlin unsuccessfully contested Labour leadership races in 1997 and 2002.

Former Education Minister, Jan O’Sullivan is seen as an outside bet for the leadership.