THE Fine Gael TD's aide who is being investigated for the alleged theft of free newspapers has been diagnosed with leukaemia.
As a result, Tommy Morris has abandoned his plan to run for the party in the local elections.
Mr Morris put his name forward as a local area representative for Fine Gael in Ballyfermot in Dublin two weeks ago.
He had been hoping to get selected as a candidate for next year's local elections in Dublin – with the local organisation expected to make a decision in the autumn.
But Mr Morris notified Fine Gael headquarters yesterday that he was withdrawing his application to become a Fine Gael area representative for Ballyfermot on medical advice.
He also told them he was not going to seek to run in next year's local elections.
A friend of Mr Morris confirmed that he had been diagnosed with leukaemia in recent weeks.
"Tommy is heartbroken that he is not going to be able to run and represent the people of Ballyfermot, which he loves.
"And he does not want to be remembered for one incident when he served the party loyally for almost 30 years," the friend said.
Mr Morris had previously worked as the campaign director for the late Fine Gael TD Jim Mitchells in Dublin South Central.
He is now working as a parliamentary assistant to Fine Gael Dublin Mid West TD Derek Keating.
Gardai are currently investigating the disappearance of the 'Lucan Gazette' free newspapers – after Mr Morris was pictured on CCTV last week taking bundles of them from a local shop.
The paper contained a story which was critical of Mr Keating.
However, legal sources have said that it was highly unlikely Mr Morris had committed any crime because the newspapers were being given away for free.
In 1997, he was arrested and questioned but never charged about the leak of documents during the presidential election campaign which was won by President Mary McAleese.