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A new chapter for Liz as she prepares to quit Dail

RETIRING TD Liz McManus will be concentrating on her fiction writing after she leaves the Dail -- but she won't be writing a Tony Blair tell-all book.

The Labour woman, who announced yesterday that she will not be seeking re-election, is keeping an "open mind" about her future.

And as an award-winning fiction writer, she says she would love to spend more time spinning yarns.

Ms McManus is a previous winner of the Hennessy, Listowel and Irish Pen awards for fiction writing -- her novel Acts Of Subversion was widely acclaimed.

"I've never not been writing. I've always done a small bit of writing. I'd hope I could do more but what shape it'll take I don't know," she told the Herald after announcing her resignation.


"I've always written fiction, but sometimes I think that if I wrote about inside Leinster House that people would find it so bizarre they wouldn't believe it," she joked, adding: "There is all human kind in there."

Her decision to step down marks the second high-profile retirement by a female politician in just over a week. But she says her reasons are very different from those of pregnant mum-of-one Olwyn Enright.

"Family was not an issue for me. All my kids are grown up. I came in when I was in my 40s and youngest child was 10, so for the formative years I was at home," she explained.

And while she says "Owlyn made absolutely the right decision", Ms McManus took a swipe at Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, saying their attitudes to women are "disgraceful".

"We have to see a transformation in the way big parties operate. Labour has succeeded in getting the critical mass. But the big parties are a disgrace," she said. And while she won't be on the ballot paper at the next election, she will be fighting it.


"I'll help out any way I can," she said, adding that she would love to see Eamon Gilmore as leader of the country. "He would make one hell of a Taoiseach," she said, adding her main resign for stepping aside was to let young blood enter the race at a time when young people in the country are suffering.