Countdown to the General Election
Following a strong performance in the by-election at the end of November, Labour councillor and Mayor of Wexford George Lawlor has confirmed that he will not be running in the general election, leaving the path clear for party leader Brendan Howlin.
Cllr Lawlor finished runner up to Fianna Fáil's Malcolm Byrne who took the vacant seat left by Mick Wallace in the by-election and following a strong performance, both he and his long time colleague Deputy Howlin said they would sit down and analyse the figures before making any decision on what to do in a general election.
Speculating that an election could be called as early as February, Cllr Lawlor this week confirmed that he will not be putting his name forward on this occasion.
'I've always been a team player,' he said. 'For me it's more important to get Brendan Howlin back to the cabinet table than to get elected as a TD myself. I think it's a strong possibility that this could happen. I would say that Brendan Howlin is perhaps Wexford's only chance at having a senior cabinet minister in the next government.'
While the by-election may have provided a great opportunity for Cllr Lawlor to dip a toe in the waters of national politics, he insists that there's no disappointment on his behalf and he's more than happy to once again support his colleague and friend Brendan Howlin.
'We had a look at the figures over the Christmas break,' he said.
'While it wouldn't be impossible to get two of us over the line, it was seen as a risk.
'I think it's more important for the people of Wexford to get Brendan back to the table and working on issues like the abandonment of Rosslare Europort, getting on a proper footing with a new university campus and tackling issues that haven't been tackled since he was last at the table.'