Rugby hero Shane won't line out for FG
Rugby star Shane Byrne has turned down an offer by Fine Gael to run as a candidate in the local elections in Co Wicklow.
The former Leinster hooker, inset, spent more than a week considering the offer.
He told the Irish Independent last night that after holding further discussions with party figures at the weekend he opted against a run for the party.
Well-placed sources said that Mr Byrne's decision did not come as a surprise given his close connections with Fianna Fail.
"We always thought it was a long shot, but you never know for the future. To be honest, there's always a risk, running so-called celebrity candidates can backfire," said a party source.
The father-of-two told this newspaper last week that he had a number of commitments that he needed to consider. Mr Byrne lives with his wife and children in North Wexford and runs a waste collection firm in Aughrim, Co Wicklow.
Sources have indicated Mr Byrne may have been tempted to run for Fine Gael after it was confirmed that sitting Wicklow TD Simon Harris is to enter the race for a European seat.
He is the second high-profile sportsperson to be approached by Fine Gael in a matter of weeks, after Olympic silver medallist Kenneth Egan was confirmed as a local election candidate in the Clondalkin ward in west Dublin.