Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes reveals he is to leave politics to work with the Irish Banking and Payments Federation
- Hayes said he was confident there was 'absolutely no conflict of interest'
- 'The Taoiseach was really, really supportive and kind'
FINE GAEL MEP Brian Hayes has made the shock decision to quit politics ahead of next year’s EU Parliament Elections.
Mr Hayes announced that he will complete his current term in office before taking up the role of CEO of the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland.
Speaking to RTE Radio One, the former Fine Gael minister said he want to be transparent about his decision to leave politics and move into banking.
"For family and professional reasons I think now is a good time to leave the stage," he told Sean O'Rourke this morning.
The former Fine Gael director of elections said he wanted to leave politics “on his own terms”.
“I think there’s more to life that being politician,” he added.
He informed Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last night of his decision to retire from politics.
“The Taoiseach was really, really supportive and kind. He understands when you are in politics so long you can become one dimensional,” Mr Hayes said.
Mr Hayes was director of elections for Fine Gael in 2016, and has a long history of representative politics with the Fine Gael party in Dublin.
Mr Hayes was first elected as a TD in 1997 but has been in the European Parliament since 2014.
It had been previously been thought in political circles that Mr Hayes would return to national politics with Fine Gael two or three years from now.
He said he will see out his role as MEP before taking up a role as CEO of the Irish Banking and Payments Federation.
He said he was confident there was "absolutely no conflict of interest".
In his resignation letter, Mr Hayes said: “I remain deeply grateful to the trust placed in me by the public in each of the eight elections I have contested. It has been a privilege to serve Fine Gael as a Councillor, Senator, TD, Minister and MEP.”
“I am taking this decision for family and professional reasons. There is life after politics,” he added.
Mr Hayes said Fine Gael has “never been in such a healthy condition” and said the party will do “great things” will under the leadership of Mr Varadkar.
“We now have certainty on the makeup of European Constituencies following the recent report of the Boundary Commission.
“Fine Gael now have time to select a new team for the Dublin constituency for next May’s election. My announcement today leaves the way open for new people to represent Dublin in the European Parliament.
“I gave a promise to the people of Dublin that if elected in 2014 that I would serve a full five-year term in the European Parliament. I stand by that commitment and therefore will serve out my mandate,” he added.
Mr Hayes said he was looking forward to working with the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) and the Financial Services industry.
"Given my work over the past 10 years as opposition spokesperson, Deputy Finance Minister and Vice President of the Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, I understand the important role and responsibility of the Banking and Payments Industry to Ireland," he said.
"There are clearly very big challenges facing the Irish Banks, especially around the questions of trust and confidence.
"There is a big job of work to be done in this regard. However, central to Ireland’s continued economic recovery must be a healthy, sustainable and customer focused banking sector," he added.