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McWilliams rules out running in the general election

ECONOMIST and Irish Independent columnist David McWilliams has ruled out running for political office.

The broadcaster last night confirmed he had been approached by both Labour and Fine Gael "months ago".

But he also ruled out running in the forthcoming general election as an Independent.

The 44-year-old had been mooted as a candidate in Dun Laoghaire under an independent movement expected to be known as the 'New Ireland Movement'.

"This 'New Ireland Movement' -- I thought it was an insurance company," Mr McWilliams told the Irish Independent last night.

"It's not a job I ever wanted to do, and I actually feel I'd let so many people down doing it because of the enormous day-to-day constituency work that I would not be able to do at all.

"Being a TD is not something I ever want to be."

However, Mr McWilliams did admit to thinking about a political life recently as speculation about his candidacy increased.

"I thought it was an enormous responsibility to take someone's vote and say, 'I'll be there for you, representing you, every day for the next five years'," he added.

"It's not a game, it's not entertainment, it's not journalism, it's not even economics. Politics is politics and it's a huge, huge commitment. And on the other side it's a huge responsibility."

He confirmed he was approached by Fine Gael and Labour "months ago" but felt their policies weren't "urgent enough" to fix Ireland's unemployment problem and he wouldn't be true to himself if he joined either party.

Nonetheless, Mr McWilliams also said that he holds out little hope Ireland's economic woes will be turned round any time soon unless there is a radical change in the current political system.

Irish Independent