Now FG lines up ex-rugby star Shane Byrne
Former Ireland rugby star Shane Byrne is being lined up by Fine Gael to run in the local elections, the Irish Independent has learned.
Mr Byrne has been offered a place on the party ticket in Wicklow and is considering whether to enter politics.
Sources have indicated the former Leinster hooker may be tempted to run for Fine Gael after it was confirmed that sitting Wicklow TD Simon Harris is to enter the race for a European seat.The father of two could potentially be selected to defend Mr Harris's seat in a subsequent by-election.
The Irish Independent understands that Mr Byrne held a meeting with party figures in recent days and is mulling over his options.
He is the second high-profile sportsperson to be approached by Fine Gael in a matter of weeks, after Olympic silver medallist Kenneth Egan was confirmed as a local election candidate in the Clondalkin ward in west Dublin.
“Shane would be ideal for us, he's got a big profile and seems like he is interested in getting into politics,” a party source told the Irish Independent.
Mr Byrne is well known in the south of the county in particular, where he has operated a waste collection business for several years.
However, local sources pointed out that the 42-year-old has links to Fianna Fail and was approached by the party to run in the last general election.
Fine Gael raised eyebrows earlier this month after it formally declared Mr Egan as a candidate in the South Dublin County Council election. Some party figures say they are opposed to approaching individuals based solely on their profiles.
“It seems like all Fine Gael cares about is putting bums on council seats, regardless of who they are and what baggage their come with,” one party TD said.
Mr Byrne did not return calls last night.