Wednesday 18 September 2019

Profile: Man often tipped as a 'future Taoiseach' will bow out of politics next summer

Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes
Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes
John Downing

John Downing

Often tipped as a future Taoiseach, Brian Hayes has announced he will quit politics next summer just weeks ahead of his 50th birthday.

The Fine Gael MEP for Dublin arrived at Leinster House in December 1995 as a senator appointed in controversial circumstances by the surprise Taoiseach of the day, John Bruton, who was heading a rainbow coalition after an extraordinary series of political events. Brian Hayes's rise was swift - but over time more than a little political rain fell upon him.

Co-opted onto Dublin South County Council in 1995 at the age of 25, he was quickly being groomed as a Dáil candidate for Dublin South-West, which was not a Fine Gael stronghold. He headed the poll there in 1997, but Fianna Fáil gained power.

The Fine Gael electoral meltdown in 2002 led to Brian Hayes losing but he won a place in Seanad Éireann. By 2007 he was back in the Dáil and a leading light in Fine Gael's determined efforts to finally win power.

But in June 2010 he backed Richard Bruton in the ill-starred heave against party leader Enda Kenny. Other rebels, including Bruton himself, were subsequently given cabinet posts in March 2011.

Brian Hayes got only partial forgiveness, being appointed junior finance minister. In summer 2014 he successfully switched to the European Parliament and soon made his mark as a highly rated communicator. He will take up a post as chief executive of the Banking and Payments Federation Ireland next summer.

Irish Independent

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