Rabbitte would have contested election if still in Cabinet

Brendan Howlin says Pat Rabbitte’s decision not to contest election is a ‘loss to politics’

Former minister for communication Pat Rabbitte who said he had nothing lined for when he left politics. Photograph: The Irish Times.

Former minister for communication Pat Rabbitte who said he had nothing lined for when he left politics. Photograph: The Irish Times.

 

Former Labour Party leader and minister for communication Pat Rabbitte has said he “would be obligated to contest the election” if still a Minister.

Speaking on RTÉ radio about his decision to not to contest the next general election, Mr Rabbitte denied the decision was him taking issue with being demoted by Tánaiste Joan Burton.

Mr Rabbitte said: “If you look at the record it has been a year since the Cabinet reshuffle. I have promoted and advocated for the party consistently over the past 12 months.”

He also rejected a suggestion his decision would result in the loss of a Labour Party seat in Dublin South West. He said there were a fine set of Labour public representatives who could replace him.

The former Labour leader also said he didn’t know what Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin meant when he referenced a significant new role for him. Mr Rabbitte said: “I have nothing lined up.”

Mr Rabbitte has previously been tipped to take up a presenting role with Newstalk, though sources at the station have rejected speculation that Mr Rabbitte could succeed George Hook as presenter of the station’s evening programme.

Mr Howlin said Mr Rabbitte’s departure would be a loss to the political system and not only the Labour Party.

“I talked to him over the last number of weeks. He’s making a personal choice for himself on what is the right thing for him to do at this stage of his own life and he’s decided not to contest the next Dáil election.

“I think he’ll be a very strong advocate for Labour during the campaign, a very strong voice for Labour and I would suspect he’ll have a significant role after the election in public affairs in Ireland, ” said Mr Howlin.