Wednesday 16 January 2019

Former Fine Gael Minister Tom Hayes will not seek to be a candidate in the next election

Tom Hayes Photo: Tom Burke
Tom Hayes Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Former Fine Gael Minister Tom Hayes will not seek to be a candidate in the next election.

The Tipperary politician was expected to declare his intention to seek a Fine Gael nomination later this week – but has now decided not to allow his name go forward.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will oversee a ‘Declaration Convention’ in Tipperary on Friday. He is putting a considerable focus on the constituency as Fine Gael failed to secure any seat there last year.

Mr Hayes said: “Had the election come earlier I would have contested it, as I felt the onus was on me to win back the seat. However the Government is doing an excellent job and it seems there is no appetite for an election in the near future. Given my length of service I feel it is now time to give somebody else a chance.”

He was elected to the Seanad in 1997 and entered the Dáil in the by-election of 2001. Hayes went on to top the poll in every subsequent General Election he contested, until the amalgamation of North and South Tipperary for General Election 2016.

He served as Chair of the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party for 8 years.

It is expected seven others will now seek the nomination including ex-TD Noel Coonan, councillors Michael Murphy, Michael Fitzgerald and Mary 'Hanna' Hourigan, as well as Garret Ahearn, Shelagh Marshall and Mary Newman.

“I look forward to assisting whoever is selected as the General Election candidate for our party and I will dedicate myself to helping them get elected to represent the people of Tipperary. I can offer a lot of advice and support and I’m now in a position to do that,” Mr Hayes said.

“I have come to this decision after a lot of thought and consultation with my family over the summer months. I wish to thank my wife Marian, my three sons, and my extended family who have been a great support to me at all stages of my political career.”

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