Labour’s Robert Dowds will not contest election

Another Labour TD has decided not to contest the general election, and has claimed that democracy has been degraded in Ireland.

Announcing his decision not to run in Dublin Mid-West, Robert Dowds said there had been corruption of politicians and that public representatives had suffered vile abuse via social media.

The former teacher is the seventh Labour TD in recent weeks to declare he will not run for the party when an election is called.

TDs Eamon Gilmore, Pat Rabbitte, Ruairi Quinn, Michael Conaghan, Seán Kenny, and Jack Wall all recently announced they would not be running.

In a statement, Mr Dowds, who is a first-time TD, said he would be working with constituency colleague Joanna Tuffy to ensure her re-election. Labour managed to secure over 30% of the vote in Dublin Mid-West at the last election but will struggle to gain as much support this time.

However, Dowds, a former mayor of South Dublin, also gave a warning to voters, declaring that “democracy is a delicate flower”.

He added: “In the last number of years, democracy has been degraded in this country, from the corruption of a small but influential group of politicians to the current vile abuse given to decent public representatives via social media and to politicians who should know better encouraging people to break the law.”

Asked to clarify his comments, Mr Dowds said he was referring to Charles Haughey regarding politicians who were corrupt. On the issue of abuse, he said he had experienced a death threat and some of his political colleagues had been threatened with rape.

“Some have tried to intimidate people off the political field. There are legitimate ways to do that, through the ballot box,” said Mr Dowds.

He said the “worst thing” that had happened during the 31 Dáil term for Labour had been Irish Water. However, he insisted it was Fine Gael, under former environment minister Phil Hogan, who had made the original mistakes setting up the company and the water charges regime.

Mr Dowds said it would be far better for Labour, as well as for voters, if there was “a united left-wing” movement.

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