FG TD decides not to run in next election 'to give somebody else a chance'

By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith, Political Correspondent

Former Fine Gael minister Tom Hayes has ruled out seeking re-election to his Dáil seat, saying "it is now time to give somebody else a chance".

The 65-year-old Tipperary TD - who was first elected to the Seanad in 1997 and entered the Dáil in a by-election in 2001, before serving as a junior minister for food - confirmed his plans days before the party's constituency declaration on Friday.

Mr Hayes said: "Had the election come earlier I would have contested it, as I felt the onus was on me to win back the seat.

"However the Government is doing an excellent job and it seems there is no appetite for an election in the near future. Given my length of service I feel it is now time to give somebody else a chance," Mr Hayes said.

Seven people are believed to be seeking Fine Gael's candidacy in the constituency at the declaration event on Friday, which is expected to be attended by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

They are ex-TD Noel Coonan, Cllr Michael Murphy, Cllr Michael Fitzgerald, Cllr Mary 'Hanna' Hourigan, Garret Ahearn, Shelagh Marshall and sitting TD Kate O Connell's sister Mary Newman.

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