Ring rules out bid for European Parliament
Rural Affairs Minister Michael Ring has ruled out running in the European elections in 2019.
The Mayo TD's name has been linked to a bid to take a second seat for Fine Gael in the Midlands-North-West constituency.
Senior figures believe he would be the ideal candidate to win a seat in the west with the aim of joining Mairéad McGuinness in the European Parliament who is from the east of the country.
However, Mr Ring last night said that while he expects that the party will run a candidate from the west, "it won't be me".
Mr Ring said: "I love the Dáil and I love the job I have and I have no real interest in Europe.
"My job now is to try and revitalise rural Ireland which I'm trying to do."
Mr Ring said his priorities include bringing people back to towns and villages and delivering the infrastructure to encourage the creation of jobs. That includes the rolling-out of high-speed broadband alongside Communications Minister Denis Naughten.
His constituency colleague and former Taoiseach Enda Kenny has been linked to the job of head of the European People's Party (EPP) of which Fine Gael is a member.
Mr Ring believes he would be a good candidate, given his record on the European stage.