Thursday 27 July 2017

McDowell returns to politics with Seanad bid

Michael McDowell. Photo: Tony Gavin
Michael McDowell. Photo: Tony Gavin
Philip Ryan

Philip Ryan

Former Justice Minister Michael McDowell and ex-union chief David Begg are seeking to be elected to the next Seanad.

Mr McDowell and Mr Begg both put their names forward to be elected to the Seanad's National University of Ireland panel.

The panel elects three members to the upper chamber. The sitting senators are Ronan Mullen, John Crown and Feargal Quinn. Only Senator Mullen is seeking re-election.

Mr McDowell, a former attorney general and leader of the Progressive Democrats, is being proposed by Mr Quinn and former NUI senator, John A Murphy.

Mr Begg, former general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, was recently at the centre of controversy over his appointment as chair of Pensions Authority by Labour leader Joan Burton

In a statement last night, Mr Begg said the economic recovery is "still fragile".

"It faces very serious challenges on many fronts, including health, housing, education, low incomes, childcare and pensions. International market volatility means that favourable growth conditions cannot be assumed to continue indefinitely.

"Our susceptibility to boom and bust cycles suggests that there are deep structural flaws in our development model. I believe that we need to become more like the small open economies of Northern Europe, especially the Nordic countries...They have proven that high quality public services and low levels of inequality in society complement rather than detract from competitiveness."

Irish Independent

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