Irish Republican News · May 25, 2007
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Michael McDowell quits politics
Michael McDowell quits politics

Deputy Prime Minister and Progressive Democrats leader, Tanaiste Michael McDowell, has quit Irish politics in a dramatic response to his election defeat today.

In an emotional entrance to the RDS count centre in Dublin shortly before 8.30pm, Mr McDowell said it was clear that he had lost his seat in the Dublin parliament and that his Green Party rival John Gormley had won the 2007 general election battle.

His resignation from public life puts the future of his shattered political party in doubt. With just one or two members of parliament, the disbandment of the Progressive Democrats is a possibility.

Mr McDowell said he was “deeply grateful” to the Irish people for his time in office adding: “My period in public life as a public representative is over”.

“The people every five years at least have the opportunity to decide who will represent them in public life and on this occasion they have made that choice. I respect that choice as a democrat.”

McDowell had engaged in a slanging match on a public street with John Mr Gormley in the week before the election.

Always a polarising figure, McDowell had also routinely clashed with Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, who in the election campaign described the PD leader as an “inveterate attention seeker”.

Arriving at the RDS a short time later shortly before he was officially declared elected in Dublin South East, Mr Gormley said it was clear the smaller parties had been pushed out in a polarised election.

“I think it’s clear the smaller parties were squeezed in this election and particularly in the last number of days, it became even tighter.

Mr Gormley said Fianna Fail had a “good day” and he was not sure yet where his own party stood in relation to the larger parties.

As he left the packed and noisy RDS count centre, Mr McDowell was heckled by a group of people chanting “cheerio, cheerio” and one young man held up a sign reading ‘Michael McDole’ as he spoke to reporters.

There was some clashes as supporters of Mr McDowell attempted to stop the heckling.

In the broader national picture, it still appears Bertie Ahern’s Fianna Fail will need to form a coalition with another political party following the collapse in vote of their traditional coalition partners. Meanwhile, although at a disadvantage, Fine Gael and Labour have not abandoned their own plans to form a government with the Green Party and others.

The following is the vote share based on first preferences nationally, with the predicted number of seats:

Fianna Fail: 41.0%, 77 seats (-4)
Fine Gael: 27.3%, 51 seats (+20)
Labour: 10.4%, 20 seats (-1)
Sinn Fein: 7.0%, 5 seats (+0)
Green Party: 4.8%, 5 seats (-1)
Progressive Democrats: 2.6%, 2 seats (-6)
Independent: 6.8%, 6 seats (-8)

© 2007 Irish Republican News