MARY HANAFIN has ruled herself out of next summer's European elections, the Irish Independent can reveal.
The former minister has put an end to months of speculation that she was preparing to contest the Dublin constituency for Fianna Fail.
However, Ms Hanafin last night gave her strongest indication yet that she intends to make a return to politics in the future.
She told the Irish Independent last night that she was not "persuaded" by a run for Europe but insisted she remains interested in domestic politics.
"I was privileged to represent the people of Dun Laoghaire for nearly 14 years and I remain involved there. I am not persuaded that Europe is where I want to be," she said.
"There are many challenges facing people in this country and in my political activity I want to be where I can best use my experience to address them," she added.
There has been widespread speculation in recent weeks that Ms Hanafin was preparing to use the European Elections as a means to make her political comeback.
The party expects next month's selection convention to be contested by Dublin City Councillor Mary Fitzpatrick, equality campaigner Tiernan Brady and former senator Geraldine Feeney.