News Politics

Tuesday 2 September 2014

'Age and chemistry' to blame for chop – Rabbitte

Philip Ryan

Published 12/07/2014 | 02:30

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Mr Rabbitte said he was “disappointed but not surprised” by Ms Burton’s decision to drop him from Cabinet
Mr Rabbitte said he was “disappointed but not surprised” by Ms Burton’s decision to drop him from Cabinet

SACKED Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte was preparing for his exit from Cabinet last week, the Irish Independent has learned.

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He begrudgingly wished new Labour leader Joan Burton well yesterday but said the decision to sack him was based on "age and chemistry".

Despite publicly refusing to accept his fate in recent days, 65-year-old Mr Rabbitte was quietly making arrangements to find a new office in Leinster House among his backbench colleagues in the Labour Party.

Mr Rabbitte said he was "disappointed but not surprised" by Ms Burton's decision to drop him from Cabinet.

It is well known Ms Burton and Mr Rabbitte at times had a frosty relationship and did not always agree on party matters.

And in a final act of defiance, he snubbed the Tanaiste by walking out of the Dail chamber before she made her speech on the cabinet reshuffle.

Labour sources said they expected him to remain a TD but Mr Rabbitte cast doubt on his political future beyond the next general election.

He said he had "every intention" of standing for re-election before his sacking but now he had been "deemed too old to serve in a Cabinet", he was looking at running again through a "different prism".

Failed

Mr Rabbitte was replaced by failed Labour leadership candidate Alex White.

Despite snubbing Ms Burton during her reshuffle speech, government sources said there was little disquiet from Mr Rabbitte when he learned he had lost his job.

However, during the unveiling of the new Cabinet, Mr Rabbitte was visibly displeased and refused to sit with his party colleagues, leaving 10 minutes into Taoiseach Enda Kenny's opening speech.

Mr Rabbitte told RTE Radio 1 it was too soon to talk about his plans for the next general election or whether he would run in the Dublin South West constituency.

Irish Independent

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