DUBLIN MEP GAY Mitchell will not contest next year’s European elections, he revealed in Strasbourg today.
“I believe this is a good time to allow new candidates to emerge,” he said.
“I am making this decision public so as to allow for consultations and arrangements to be made well in advance.”
By 2014, the Fine Gael party member will have been in the European Parliament for ten years and prior to his stint in Strasbourg, he served as a TD for 26 years.
He noted that in 2004 when he first took the seat, Fine Gael only had three Dáil seats out of 43 in Dublin, one of which was his. The party now has 16 TDs, three senators and 36 councillors in Dublin.
Ireland is to lose one of its seats in the European Parliament next year so there will be just 11 people elected.
The parliament currently has 754 MEPs, distributed between all 27 member states, but the entry of Croatia into the union this year – combined with the implementation of parts of the Lisbon Treaty, which limit the membership to 751 – means some countries must lose seats.
Gay Mitchell was one of the seven candidates in last year’s Presidential race but after a disappointing campaign, he picked up just 6.4 per cent of the vote. He has also served as the Lord Mayor of Dublin.
The Taoiseach has paid tribute to his colleague this morning, stating he is a politician of “deep conviction” who has approached his roles in public life with “great commitment and integrity”.
He thanked him for his years of dedicated service to his Dublin constituents and wished him and his family “every health and happiness in the future”.