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Wednesday 27 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# The High Table Interview
What really annoys Pat Rabbitte?
Here’s what we learned when the former minister came into during the week.

IT’S A WARM Wednesday morning and Pat Rabbitte has to negotiate four flights of stairs to get into‘s offices in Dublin.

When he eventually arrives at what used to be the former election headquarters of the Labour party, the Dublin South-West TD wonders if we were trying to punish him.

We assure him that the lifts really are out of order and we all had to negotiate the steps that morning.

He appears unconvinced but after pleasantries are exchanged and coffee is provided he sits down for a High Table Interview.

rabbitte nod

He can’t do much about being misrepresented

You may remember Rabbitte’s infamous “isn’t that what you do during an election?” comments on RTÉ’s The Week in Politics over two years ago. The opposition have frequently used the remarks as a way of hammering Labour for breaking pre-election pledges.

When he was communications minister, Rabbitte explained to us how his comments were taken out of context. This week, we asked him if he was annoyed at how the remarks are consistently used against him and the government. He was typically robust in his response:

The people who are alleging it against me know bloody well what the situation is.

Paul Hosford /

That ‘Every Little Hurts’ leaflet has… hurt

Those misinterpreted comments had originally been made in the course of an answer to questions about Labour’s now infamous ‘Every Little Hurts’ leaflet prior to the last general election.

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Several TDs have admitted the leaflet – and the broken pledges – have damaged the party in subsequent years and Rabbitte does not disagree.

However, he explained the reasons why the leaflet was issued and claimed it was part of ensuring there was not a Fine Gael overall majority after the last election.

Paul Hosford /

He thinks Sinn Féin would have taken Ireland over a cliff

Sinn Féin’s close alignment with Syriza is coming under scrutiny in the wake of the Greek debt crisis in recent weeks.

Unsurprisingly, government ministers have been quick to point to Greece as an example of where Ireland could have been under Sinn Féin.  Rabbitte is no different.

The unfortunate lesson from the Greece situation for Ireland is that Sinn Féin, like Syriza, could have taken us over the cliff.

Paul Hosford /

Why Labour isn’t benefiting from the referendum 

Despite being front and centre of the recent marriage referendum campaign, Labour has had no sustained boost in the polls as a result of the overwhelming Yes vote. In fact, the party slipped back three points in the latest Red C/Sunday Business Post survey.

Why? Rabbitte said this has been a long-standing problem for Labour where it tackles the great social issues of the day but doesn’t get the credit at the ballot box – and that annoys him.

Paul Hosford /

He still hasn’t decided if he’s running again

Rabbitte has been very honest about his indecisiveness when it comes to running for re-election.

We pressed the Dublin South-West TD as much as we could but, despite his convention being less than a month away, he still hasn’t made his mind up.

Paul Hosford /

Read: Pat Rabbitte is VERY angry about RTÉ’s water charges coverage

Read: Pat Rabbitte’s face doesn’t always reflect his inner happiness

Watch more from The High Table Interview series > 

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