MINISTER FOR DEFENCE Tony Killeen says he will not contest the upcoming general election, due to health concerns.
In a statement posted to his website earlier this morning, the Clare TD said he had already informed the Taoiseach.
He thanked Brian Cowen for his support during his recent cancer treatment, and said he was grateful to his family, friends and Fianna Fáil members in Clare for their support and guidance.
Interview on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Killeen said he had used the recent holiday period to catch up on medical tests and to consider the advice of medical people. He said he had intended to contest the election and it was with “great regret” he would not now be doing so.
Questioned about his party’s legacy and its disconnect from voters, Killeen said he believed that when the history of this period is written, it will be viewed different than it is currently being portrayed. He said his fellow Fianna Fáil TDs met people in their “offices, clinics and so forth” and were of course aware of what people were saying.
Killeen was first elected to the Dáil in 1992, and his announcement brings the total number of current TDs who will not contest the general election to 23. Last night, Fianna Fáil’s Michael Finneran said he would step down at the next election.
Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern recently announced he would also not be running in the election due to health concerns.