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Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Cabinet sacking

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

The former minister reflected on his departure from cabinet in a wide-ranging interview with today.

rabbittes The many facial expressions of Pat Rabbitte

WHEN HE WAS dropped from cabinet a year ago, Pat Rabbitte was widely-reported to have been sporting a face “like thunder”.

The former communications minister was informed that he would not be retained as a minister by new Labour leader and Tánaiste Joan Burton in what he later said was a “20-second conversation”.

Speaking at the time, Rabbitte said he was told by Burton of the need to bring newer, younger TDs into the cabinet fold.

He’s kept a relatively high-profile since then with a regular Sunday newspaper column and plenty of broadcast media appearances.

In a wide-ranging interview with today, Rabbitte said:

The woman [Joan Burton] told me that she felt it was time to let [a] new younger generation through and that took about 20 seconds at the time. I didn’t discuss it before that with her and I haven’t discussed it with her since, nor have I commented on it…

But did he really have a face like thunder?

Paul Hosford /

Despite the change of leadership and the cabinet reshuffle, Labour is still suffering in the opinion polls.

The latest Sunday Business Post/Red C puts the junior coalition partner at 7 per cent – the same level of support it was at when Burton took over a year ago.

But Rabbitte, a TD for Dublin South-West, insisted the Tánaiste is “doing the best she can”.

Paul Hosford /

There will be more from our interview with Pat Rabbitte on later this week

Read: Pat Rabbitte can’t make his mind up

Read: Consigned to the knacker’s yard, Pat Rabbitte doesn’t know if he’ll run again

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