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Dublin: 17 °C Wednesday 12 August, 2020

Fine Gael's Paudie Coffey will not stand in next General Election

The former Minister of State for Housing has been a Senator since 2016.

Fine Gael Senator Paudie Coffey
Fine Gael Senator Paudie Coffey
Image: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland

FINE GAEL SENATOR and former Junior Minister Paudie Coffey will not contest the next general election. 

Coffey – who served as Minister of State for Housing and Planning from 2014 to 2016 – was selected to run as a candidate in the next General Election but said today that in recent weeks “he has reflected on his position”.

“This weekend he made the decision to leave public life when the current 25th Seanad term ends,” he said. 

Coffey, who was elected to the Seanad in May 2016, was a TD for Waterford serving from 2011 to 2016. 

Following Fine Gael TD John Deasy’s decision to stand down in August ahead of the next General Election, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the party would seek a candidate to join Senator Coffey on the party ticket. 

Prior to his resignation, Deasy was criticised for not being visible enough in his local constituency due to the demands of the envoy job. 

It resulted in a number of members of the Fine Gael Waterford branch backing a motion of no confidence in the Fine Gael TD and it subsequently emerged that the motion was tabled by Coffey’s brother. 

Following the vote, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he intended to deal with claims that there is bullying in the Fine Gael branch. 

At the time, Varadkar acknowledged that there is a “long-standing split” in the party in Waterford.

In a statement today, Coffey said he had been “privileged” to have represented Waterford since 1999, when he was first elected a County Councillor. 

“I look forward now to focusing on the next chapter of my life and spending more time with my wife and three children.

“I would like to especially wish my two Fine Gael colleagues and general election candidates, Cllrs John Cummins and Damien Geoghegan the very best in the forthcoming general election,” he said. 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today thanked Coffey on Twitter for “20 years of unbroken service” and said “we will miss him in the [Fine Gael] Party”.

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