'The tide was out for Labour' - Tears as Aodhán Ó Ríordáin concedes in Dublin Bay North
Published 01/03/2016 | 12:50
Outgoing Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Riordáin has lost his Dáil seat after being eliminated from the race for Dublin Bay North.
The latest high-profile casualty for the party follows what has been a disastrous result for Labour across the country.
The loss of Mr Ó Riordáin’s seat now puts in serious doubt whether Labour will retain its speaking rights in the Dáil.
Previously having 33 seats when the Dáil dissolved, the party has only so far returned six TDs.
Visibly emotional after his loss in Dublin Bay North, Mr Ó Riordáin said: “Today wasn’t with us."
"The tide was out. We expected that maybe the government would have more support, and that maybe we would be trying to prove to people that Fine Gael needed I suppose partners in government," he added.
"But people made a very clear decision that they didn’t want the government returned," he continued.
He also thanked his campaign team and office, who he said "believed in things for the last while", and had addressed “challenges and causes that maybe weren’t popular, like drug reform, Travellers rights.”
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Speaking later on RTÉ News at One, Mr Riordáin said he knew the writing was on the wall after he failed to garner the majority of Averil Power’s transfers following her elimination.
“I was hoping to have gotten more from Averil but once that didn’t happen it was clear I was gone.
“Still, I’m extremely proud of what the Labour has achieved the last five years, and in particular my own office in the last year and a half."
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Asked about Labour's future, Mr Riordáin was adamant that the party "belonged in Government".
"I’m a firm believer that the Labour party belongs in government and that Ireland needs the Labour party."
He continued: "We've had a very difficult election but we will be back; the regrouping starts today.
"We’ve spent so much time thinking about the country the last five years, we’ve got to spend a little bit of time thinking about our own party.
"I’m confident though that we will be back," he added.
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Speaking about his own future, the outgoing Equality Minister refused to rule out a return to politics.
“I’m going to take some time out, it’s all very raw. It’s been grudging couple of months and it’s been a difficult few years.
“I didn’t get into politics to further my own ambitions… so there are many different ways you can purse to help people and politics is only one."
Giving advice to the country's new incoming TDs, the former Labour Minister said the best thing any of them could do was to "get out of their circles" and involve themselves in cross-party issues.
“The point of politics is to serve. You should realise every day that you’re there to serve,” he advised.