Alan Kelly, the Labour TD, has been "sounded out" about contesting the next General Election for Fine Gael in Tipperary, the Sunday Independent understands.
The Fine Gael organisation in Tipperary is said to have approached the former Labour minister to ascertain whether he would be interested in leaving Labour to join the party.
Mr Kelly is understood to have firmly rebuffed what has been described as a tentative approach at a "senior level" in Tipperary and not, it is stressed, by the Fine Gael national organisation, although there is speculation locally that the approach was known about at a national level.
Once a Fine Gael stronghold, the party failed to win a seat in Tipperary at the last election, with Mr Kelly pipping former Fine Gael Minister Tom Hayes for the final seat. Independent TDs Michael Lowry and Mattie McGrath won the first two seats ahead of Fianna Fail's Jackie Cahill, followed by Seamus Healy of Workers and Unemployed Action and Mr Kelly, neither of whom reached the quota.
Yesterday, a source close to Mr Kelly confirmed that a Fine Gael approach had been made, said it had been "dismissed" and also took a swipe at Labour, which declined to elect Mr Kelly as leader after the election last year.
This source added: "Alan has time and time again said that Labour values are in his DNA and that's certainly true. He's always talking about workers and the value of work. He is certainly not one of those who just pander to the welfare or liberal agendas that Labour has become so associated with. His ambition is to drag the Labour Party back towards what he believes in rather than ever leave it.
"Leaving is not something he ever would even contemplate despite everything that's happened. He doesn't leave when things get tough. He's the type or character who stays and fights."