I love my job and have always had a deep passion for my work and tackling the many pressing social, environmental, economic, and governmental issues we still face. However, after more than 30 years in representational politics, now it is the right time for me to step back. I am therefore confirming I will not seek a nomination to contest the next General Election.

At the outset, I want to sincerely thank the people of Leixlip and Kildare North for their support over many years. It has truly been an honour to represent you and I thank you for the trust, loyalty, and warmth you have shown me over the years.

It has been such a privilege to work in frontline politics, which has been a lifelong passion, alongside colleagues who have shared my energy, commitment, and vision for the future.

Róisín and I established the Social Democrats as we believe there has never been a greater need to offer a different type of politics that is interventionist and fully focused on getting the basics of life right. Secure affordable homes are absolutely central to that, as is a full spectrum of quality public services that can be relied upon when needed. Together, and with the help of so many of our colleagues, members and volunteers, we have built an organisation that is bigger and, we hope, more impactful than either of us could ever have been alone.

Part of my work over the past decade has involved building a strong and dynamic team in Kildare, alongside a national party that offers a clear vision for the future. I am heartened at how well the Social Democrats performed in the recent local elections with the party nearly doubling its seats. Kildare was a particular bright spot for the party in those elections, with our excellent team helping to elect seven councillors – a near doubling of Social Democrats representation on Kildare County Council.

My focus, during the local elections, was on sharing what I have learnt throughout my time in politics and helping to build for the future alongside an impressive group of Councillors. I believe now is the time to make space for the next generation – and we have a talented array of representatives to choose from. I have informed my branch, and our National Executive, of my decision and sought an early selection convention to choose a candidate who will contest the next General Election for Kildare North constituency.

I want to thank my family, in particular my husband Derek, who didn’t choose my profession but who have been there to support me all along the way. I am looking forward to spending time with them now, in particular my grandchildren who I have so enjoyed watching grow into such impressive young people.

I also want to thank those who have worked with me over the years. I am lucky to say there have been many – including staff, party members, and volunteers – who are dear friends and without whom I would not have had a career in politics. I also want to thank the countless community groups I have so enjoyed working alongside on many issues over many years.

As a society, we face huge challenges – in housing, healthcare, disability services and climate change, which must be tackled pro-actively with just transition as our overriding consideration. A strong economy is a core driver of all of that, but that economy must be built to underpin a strong, healthy, and flourishing society rather than to dominate it. I will continue to work in whatever way I can to support Holly Cairns and the next generation of party TDs in advocating for and delivering on these aims.

So, while I am bowing out of representational politics, I will continue working towards the delivery of social democracy in Ireland, albeit in a less prominent way.

July 2, 2024

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