Today I am announcing my decision to step down as a TD at the next election. I believe that now is a good time and the right time for me to do so.

I have been a TD for Dublin North-West for almost 32 years and am very proud to have had the opportunity to serve the public in that role. I am always mindful that I have been enabled to do that because the people of Dublin North West have elected me to represent them at seven consecutive elections.  I thank them sincerely for placing their trust in me and hope I have repaid that trust through my work over that time.

Representing my constituents and actively contributing to public debate on national issues have been my priorities as a TD. I have a strong belief in the power of politics as a force for good. Politics has enormous potential to make people’s lives better and to create a fairer and more progressive country. I have worked in furtherance of those goals over the course of my career.

There have been two particular highlights of my time in politics. The first has been the founding, along with Catherine Murphy, of the Social Democrats in 2015. Our aim was to give people a new choice in Irish politics, a new kind of politics founded on the best tradition of social democracy. A party based on equality and a belief in a strong economy, a fair society and honest politics.

Our ambition has seen the election of six TDs and 35 councillors – including three in my own area of Dublin North West – with the Social Democrats now a significant force in Irish politics. I am very confident that the party has a strong future under the leadership of Holly Cairns TD, with a large cohort of excellent public representatives and many committed members.

I am equally proud of the role I have been able to play in the development of Sláintecare, the plan for an entirely new approach to health and social care in Ireland. This cross-party plan is for a single tier universal health service where people can access care based on their health need rather than their ability to pay.

Sláintecare is now the official health policy for our country and while there is still work to be done on its full implementation, very significant progress has been made. Sláintecare has enormous potential to address the shocking inequality which has been a feature of our health and social care service for far too long.

While I have decided to step down from frontline politics, I hope to continue to work to build on progress already made in the development of the Social Democrats party. I truly believe the Party can make a major contribution to creating a better Ireland for all.

Throughout my political career since 1991, I have been helped, encouraged and advised by many wonderfully committed people, especially my Oireachtas and constituency office staff and members of my local branch. I will always be grateful to them for that support.

Finally, I want to thank my husband and family who have been an incredible support and inspiration to me in all the good times and in a small number of low points. They have shown amazing love and patience in putting up with me.

Having thoroughly enjoyed a long and active political career, I now very much look forward to playing a different role in politics in supporting and assisting in the further growth of the Social Democrats.

I am also really looking forward to having the time to pursue other interests.

Thank you.

July 2, 2024

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