Fine Gael strategists breathe sigh of relief as their 'face of stability' says he is up for the election
Michael Noonan has been the cornerstone of Enda Kenny's Government for the past five years and his presence remains very precious to those working on this Coalition's re-election campaign.
The 72-year-old father of five grown children, and grandfather of 10, was an unlikely political hero at the start of this Government's term in March 2011. Indeed, an extraordinary turn of political events had returned him from the political oblivion which appeared to be his lot after he had led Fine Gael to electoral meltdown in the May 2002 general election.
At that stage, just days short of his 59th birthday, it seemed that his political career was behind him as Fine Gael had lost 23 Dáil seats as Bertie Ahern's Fianna Fáil swept back to power. What was also unknown at that time was the great personal tragedy which beset him as his wife, Flor, was afflicted by progressive dementia, a fact which only became public in the summer of 2010.