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Top banking expert Mathews to stand for Fine Gael in election

BANKING consultant Peter Mathews will run for Fine Gael in the general election, the Irish Independent has learnt.

Mr Mathews, a chartered accountant and former ICC bank executive, said his first constituency preference was Dublin South but he would run in Dun Laoghaire if that was what the party wanted.

Other potential candidates from a financial background include analyst Paul Somerville who may run as an Independent in Dublin South East.

Senator Shane Ross has already confirmed he is to run as an Independent candidate in the Dublin South constituency which elected former RTE economics editor George Lee in the 2009 by-election.

Mr Ross had been courted by Fine Gael to run in this election but decided against party politics.

He was an unsuccessful Fine Gael candidate for the Wicklow constituency in the 1992 General Election. He was first elected to the Seanad in 1981.

Mr Ross will run against Fine Gael's sitting TDs Olivia Mitchell and Alan Shatter, Green Party Minister Eamon Ryan and barrister Alex White, who is the Labour candidate.

Fianna Fail has yet to name its candidates for that constituency.

"This is a team effort," Mr Mathews said yesterday, confirming his candidacy.

"I see this as an opportunity to be part of new Fine Gael -- you can compare it to New Labour under Tony Blair.

"I want to play a part in the reconstruction of Ireland and this will include the banking sector," he added.

Mr Mathews believes the State could have saved €15bn if the bank guarantee had been structured to lessen its exposure to the now nationalised Anglo Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide.

It is unclear whether economist and commentator David McWilliams will run in the election.

Efforts to contact him were unsuccessful last night.

Irish Independent