RUGBY star Shane Byrne has turned down an offer by Fine Gael to run as a candidate in the local elections in County Wicklow.
The former Leinster hooker spent over a week considering the party's offer before deciding against putting his name forward.
He told the Herald 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 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 back fire," said a party source.
The father-of-two said last week that he had a number of commitments that he needed to consider before making his decision regarding the elections.
Mr Byrne lives with his wife and children in north Wexford and runs a waste collection firm a few kilometres away in Aughrim, Co Wicklow.
Sources have indicated Byrne may be 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.