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He's out

Blow for the Social Democrats as councillor withdraws from election

Longford councillor Gerry Warnock cited “family and professional obligations” as the reason.

Updated 5.15pm 

COUNCILLOR GERRY WARNOCK will no longer contest the general election for the Social Democrats as the party today confirmed it will run 14 candidates in total.

Warnock, Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council, released a statement earlier, saying he made the decision “after much consideration”.

“Unfortunately, due to family and professional obligations, it is not possible for me to apply myself totally to an election campaign,” he said.

“It is my belief that anything less than total commitment would not reflect the seriousness of my intent to represent the people of Longford/Westmeath and would not do me, the Social Democrats or most importantly the electorate the justice deserved.

Warnock, who was previously independent, said he has informed his party colleagues and remains “very much committed to the Social Democrats and the ideals of the party”.

14 candidates 

One of the Social Democrats’ three leaders, Róisín Shortall, confirmed the party has finalised its slate of candidates and will have 14 in total with the election expected to take place next month.

The former Labour TD said she was disappointed that Warnock cannot contest the election and said the party looked forward to working closely with him in the future.

“We made a very conscious decision early on that we would focus on the quality of our candidates rather than the quantity,” Shortall said.

As a new party determined to build a real political alternative in Ireland we feel it is of vital importance to have the right people with us at this pivotal time in the building of the party.

Priorities 

Warnock thanked the party for giving him the opportunity to run, and the volunteers who worked on his campaign to date.

“My priorities going forward are to continue to represent and promote Longford in my capacity as Cathaoirleach,” Warnock said, adding that his main focus will be Longford’s regeneration project.

Warnock concluded the statement by wishing all candidates luck in the election.

It is not an easy thing to put one’s self forward for public office and I admire anyone, irrespective of their political beliefs, who has the courage and the conviction to put themselves out there.

He added that it’s his “strong intention to take part in future campaigns”.

The Social Democrats launched last July. It is led by former independent TDs Catherine Murphy, Shortall and Stephen Donnelly. 

- additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell 

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