Robert Dowds decides not to contest general election

Dublin Mid-West TD says Labour is not going to be able to retain two seats in constituency

Labour TD for Dublin Mid-West Robert Dowds has confirmed he will not contest the general election.

In a surprise move, Mr Dowds said he would step down ahead of the poll because his party colleague and fellow sitting TD Joanna Tuffy was in a better position to retain her seat.

“We won two seats in the constituency in much easier circumstances five years ago. That’s not going to happen again,” he said.

“It’s clear Joanna Tuffy is in a stronger position to win a seat than me. I’ve discussed this in detail with my closest political associates.”


Mr Dowds said he recognised that not everybody had felt the impact of the economic recovery.

He also insisted the decision to retire was his own. “No pressure was put on me,” he added.

He informed party leader Tánaiste Joan Burton and other senior party figures ahead of announcing his decision.

Dublin Mid-West is an unusual constituency because it returned four Government representatives at the last election. The Fine Gael representatives are Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Derek Keating.

Tánaiste and Labour Party leader Joan Burton paid tribute to Mr Dowds, saying he had made a “significant contribution”.

“Robert came into the Dail in 2011 at a time of national crisis when our economy was on the brink, when the state had all but run out of money, and when the public finances were in a state of catastrophe.

“This Government has had to make some very difficult decisions since 2011. As a Labour Party TD, and as somebody who represents a working class community, it would have been easy for Robert to do as some of his political opponents have done – to pretend that there was an easy way out of the mess.”

Mr Dowds joins a growing number of Labour TDs who have announced they will not contest the next election.

Among the prominent Labour deputies in the current Dáil who have made clear they will not run again are Pat Rabbitte, Ruairí Quinn, Eamon Gilmore and parliamentary party chairman Jack Wall.

Their party colleague Michael Conaghan has also said he will not contest as have Sean Kenny and Eamonn Maloney.

Fine Gael's Dan Neville, Frank Feighan and Liam Twomey have declared they will not stand for election.

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan

Mary Minihan is Acting Features Editor of The Irish Times