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Statement by Senator Michael McDowell 14th January 2020

 When the late Feargal Quinn asked me to stand as his successor in Seanad Éireann nearly four years ago, it was on the basis of our shared commitment to strengthen Seanad Éireann and to secure reform of its system of election in the aftermath of the failed attempt to abolish it.

That commitment remains my primary focus. I greatly hope the incoming Dáil will act on the expressed will of the people in that regard by implementing the recent report of the Seanad Reform Implementation Group.

The Seanad needs to be strengthened, not weakened, and to be reformed, not exploited. I feel strongly that the Seanad should be seen to be more than a stepping stone for those seeking election or re-election to the Dáil.

The Seanad needs independent voices and it needs to be independent of government domination to perform its valuable constitutional role of check and balance on the power of the party whip, as was demonstrated by the success of those who have prevented the enactment of the unwanted and unwise Judicial Appointments Commission legislation.

I am very grateful to the very many people who have suggested to me that I should seek re-election to Dáil Eireann in this General Election. I have previously served three terms in Dáil Eireann and have in that time served as backbencher, Minister and Tánaiste. I believe that any contribution I can make now is best made in the context of the Seanad.

I wish to formally confirm that I intend to seek re-election to Seanad Éireann in the coming months and that I will therefore not be a candidate for election to Dáil Éireann on 8th February next.

-        Ends

Senator Michael McDowell

14th January 2020

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