Friday 15 December 2017

I gave Joan Burton top job just to make us look good, says Pat Rabbitte

Joan Burton and Pat Rabbitte
Joan Burton and Pat Rabbitte

THE National Women's Council has criticised Labour backbencher Pat Rabbitte after he claimed he handed promotions to Tanaiste Joan Burton in order to boost her profile.

Mr Rabbitte has stoked tensions with Ms Burton by claiming he was responsible for promoting her to the position of Labour finance spokesperson.

The Dublin South West TD, who previously served as Labour leader, said his decision to promote Ms Burton over Brendan Howlin was criticised at the time.

But he said he did so in order to boost her image and that of the party.

In an interview on RTE's The Saturday Night Show, Mr Rabbitte said he also stepped down from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) so that Ms Burton could fill his place.

"I made the decision to promote Joan Burton to our spokesperson on finance, it was criticised because (Public Expenditure Minister) Brendan Howlin would have been regarded to have had seniority and very competent in that area. I thought it would be good for the party's image to have a woman," he said.

"I resigned from the Public Accounts Committee at the time and promoted Joan in my place to help her profile," he added.

The National Women's Council of Ireland (NCWI) described Mr Rabbitte's comments as "concerning" and said Ms Burton has clearly succeeded in politics based on her ability, not image.

"Referring to the promotion of women in terms of image is certainly something that does not help the promotion of women in politics," NCWI director Orla O'Connor told the Herald.

Asked about Mr Rabbitte's comments at an event in Dublin yesterday, Ms Burton joked that she has not received an Easter egg from him this year.

Mr Rabbitte did not respond to a request for comment.


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