The former justice minister and attorney general, who was a controversial figure during the Celtic Tiger years, said “like Charles Stewart Parnell I will never say never”, when asked about whether a future election bid is on the cards.
Speaking on RTÉ, he said he believed “people who actually like their State, like their Constitution, like their democracy should never say ‘I will never do anything’ ”.
While stating “the odds of my being able to play any useful part in the future are diminished from what they were”, he said: “I would love to do whatever I can in public life in whatever way I can to make this country work.
“If I have something to offer and if the opportunity came up, I would avail of it,” he said, but insisted he has held no talks with Renua Ireland or Shane Ross’s proposed alliance of independents, despite reports.
After losing his seat in the 2007 election, he said he was definitively leaving politics and returning to his successful private legal career.
However, his latest suggest he is keen to return in some way to a political arena. He admitted yesterday that he missed it despite the “increasingly negative” approach to politicians as underlined by “bowsies” videoing and abusing Brian Cowen last week.
Mr McDowell said he believes the current Coalition will not return to power, but said Fianna Fáil is struggling because it still “needs to define where it stands”.
When asked about the rise of Sinn Féin, a party with which he often clashed while a minister, he said they could win “30 or 40 seats” but stressed a “grand coalition of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is the obvious one” despite Fianna Fáil delegates backing a non-binding vote not to do so at its ard fheis.
Speaking on the same programme, Fianna Fáil councillor and former Dublin South West TD Charlie O’Connor said he was “very pleased” to see last week’s appointment of Aodhán Ó Ríordáin as drugs minister.
Mr O Connor’s son Robert died a year ago of a drugs overdose.