Labour’s Pat Rabbitte will not run in general election

Alan Shatter to seek nomination to contest new Dublin Rathdown constituency

Former leader of the Labour Party Pat Rabbitte has confirmed  he will be stepping down from politics after 26 years.  File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Former leader of the Labour Party Pat Rabbitte has confirmed he will be stepping down from politics after 26 years. File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

Former Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte will not contest the next general election.

Mr Rabbitte confirmed on Monday night he will be stepping down from politics after 26 years.

The former minister informed his party colleagues of his decision at selection convention. The Dublin South West TD said he had not intended to make the announcement until after the Dáil broke for its summer recess, but felt he had to tell his colleagues at the constituency meeting.

Tánaiste Joan Burton praised Mr Rabbitte’s contribution to politics and to his party.

She said he would be sorely missed by all in political life.

“While Pat has had a significant national profile, he has always worked hard for the entire community in Dublin South West,” Ms Burton said.

“I know that amidst a lengthy political career, one of his proudest achievements was his involvement in the first National Drugs Strategy during the rainbow government, in an effort to address the drugs scourge in Dublin.”

Ms Burton also said Mr Rabbitte would be remembered for the forensic work he did as a member of the Dirt inquiry.*

Public life

“Pat’s wit and insight are unique and I am sure that while he is exiting politics, he will not be lost to Irish public life,” she added.

Mr Rabbitte was leader of the Labour Party from 2002- 2007. He more recently served as minister for communications, energy and natural resources, but lost his Cabinet place in a reshuffle after Ms Burton’s appointment as party leader last year.

Mr Rabbitte had originally put his name forward for the selection convention, but withdrew it late on Monday night. A recent internal poll suggested he would have been re-elected if he ran again.

Councillor Pamela Kearns is likely to be selected as his replacement. She ran for the party in the byelection won by Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy last October.

Meanwhile, former minister for justice Alan Shatter has said he wants to run for Fine Gael in the next general election.

He said it was his intention to seek a nomination to contest the new Dublin Rathdown constituency, a three-seater which replaces the current five-seat Dublin South following boundary changes.

Privilege

Mr Shatter confirmed his intentions, but admitted he faces a tough battle to get re-elected.

“I have had the privilege of representing the people of Dublin South in Dáil Éireann for over 29 years,” he said.

“I would hope to continue my work as a Dáil member after the next election as one of the Fine Gael deputies representing the smaller three-seat constituency of Dublin Rathdown.

“I have no doubt it will be a big challenge for the party to secure two seats but I am up for the challenge. Of course the first important step is to receive a nomination as one of the party’s candidates.”

He is expected to be joined by his party colleague Olivia Mitchell on the ticket, but she has not yet indicated whether or not she will stand again.

Labour’s Alex White and Independents Shane Ross and Peter Mathews are expected to stand in Dublin Rathdown, along with Sinn Féin’s Sorcha Nic Cormaic and Fianna Fáil’s Senator Mary White.

Fine Gael’s Dublin Rathdown selection convention is unlikely to be held until September.

*This article was amended on July 7th, 2015