Thursday 27 October 2016

Former Fianna Fail backbench TD Noel O’Flynn rules out running for 2016 General Election

Published 18/01/2016 | 09:32

Former Fianna Fail TD Noel O'Flynn
Former Fianna Fail TD Noel O'Flynn

FORMER Fianna Fail backbench TD Noel O’Flynn has ruled out a 2016 General Election run as an independent.

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Mr O’Flynn, who confirmed his Fianna Fail membership has lapsed, indicated today that, having carefully considered running as an independent, he has opted not to contest the imminent election in Cork North Central.

The outspoken former TD said he had consulted widely with family, friends and supporters.

He said many had urged him to run but, having talked it over with his wife, Frances, over Christmas he came to the decision that a Dail bid was not in his best interests.

“I decided that I would not be putting my name forward.”

“I am 64 years old since Christmas and my health is not 100pc,” he said.

“I did have a knock-out (last year). I was in Spain on October 23 and I collapsed in a restaurant. I was very lucky to have some local people who were able to call an ambulance and help me.”

“My blood pressure had gone through the roof,” he explained.

Mr O’Flynn said that, having signalled a possible Dail bid as an independent in a RedFM interview last year, he found it hard to generate the hunger for the demands of such a challenge.

“I don’t think at this stage in my life I need to bring any more stress on me,” he explained.

“In politics you have to be 100pc committed, fully focussed and fighting fit.”

“I haven’t really had the hunger to back into it full time. I want to take time off. You always ask how many summers you have left and only God knows that.”

“Why should I be stressing myself out at this stage in my life,” he added.

Mr O’Flynn has repeatedly warned that FF was cannibalising itself with Michael Martin’s leadership offering Irish voters “no policies, no traction and no identity”.

He previously claimed that Mr Martin was only ever “an interim leader”.

Having been a member of the party since 1978, he allowed his membership to lapse last year.

Mr O’Flynn did not defend his Dail seat in Cork North Central in the 2011 General Election. He was first elected to the Dail in 1997 and ranked as one of FF’s most outspoken TDs.

Mr O’Flynn was a staunch critic of first Bertie Ahern and then Brian Cowen.

He only stood down as a TD after being asked by his party not to run in the last General Election to save a FF seat in Jack Lynch’s old Cork northside constituency.

The seat was subsequently held by former Junior Minister Billy Kelleher.

Mr O’Flynn later accused Mr Martin of reneging on a deal to support his son, Councillor Kenneth O’Flynn, in his 2011 Seanad election bid.

He has predicted that he doesn’t anticipate major changes to elected personnel in Cork North Central.

Mr O’Flynn, a successful self-made businessman, also predicted that Sinn Fein will do well in the 2016 General Election and will, within the next few years, form part of a Government.

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