Twomey departure opens up contest
Liam Twomey's decision not to stand in the next general election has eased the pressure on the Government candidates in the five-seat Wexford constituency.
The Fine Gael TD and medical doctor surprised many with his announcement yesterday morning and leaves his party seeking a candidate in the Wexford town/New Ross area.
Dr Twomey cited "family reasons and the pressures of political life" as he announced the end of a 13-year stint at Leinster House as a TD and Senator.
Dr Twomey's announcement will make matters easier for government colleagues, the government chief whip, Paul Kehoe, and Public Expenditure Minister, Brendan Howlin of Labour, who are each also based in the south of the constituency.
But with Fine Gael's other potential candidate, Senator Michael D'Arcy, based around Gorey in the north of the constituency, there is no obvious contender for the third candidate slot ahead of a selection convention which is due on September 13.
Sources suggested that a woman candidate may be preferred, especially given the need to meet the gender quota.
The name of Councillor John Hegarty, a teacher in Wexford CBS, is also cited.
Liam Twomey's announcement is also good news for Independent Mick Wallace, whose Wellingtonbridge base is also in the south of the constituency. Mr Wallace topped the poll in 2011 and his profile since then makes him likely to be returned next time.
Liam Twomey is originally from Clonakilty, Co Cork and he his wife, Liz O'Sullivan, run a doctors' practice in Rosslare Strand. He was originally elected to the Dáil in 2002 as an independent, but joined Fine Gael soon afterwards.
Dr Twomey lost his seat in 2007 but then won a seat in the Seanad and regained his Dáil seat in February 2011.
Yesterday, he said the demands of the constituency and his Dáil work as chairman of the finance committee were taking a toll on family life and his three children.
"With an impending election, the time had come to take a decision. I want to thank all my loyal supporters and the people of Wexford for the privilege of representing them," he said.