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This Fine Gael TD WILL contest the next election after all

His change of heart is thought to have come on foot of conversations with senior party figures including the Taoiseach Enda Kenny earlier this week.

Peter Fitzpatrick was Louth football manager from 2009 to 2012 when he stepped down to focus on politics.
Peter Fitzpatrick was Louth football manager from 2009 to 2012 when he stepped down to focus on politics.
Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

PETER FITZPATRICK HAS reversed his decision to stand down at the next election and will seek the Fine Gael nomination in Louth after all.

The former county football manager announced his decision not to put his name forward for the Fine Gael convention just over a week ago, but has been persuaded to change his mind by party bosses.

Fitzpatrick was first elected to the Dáil in 2011 but has kept a relatively low-profile in the four years since. In a statement this morning, he said he had been “astonished” by the reaction his initial decision.

“I have been astonished by the reaction that I have received from Fine Gael members and the large number of messages I have received from supporters and constituents outside the party,” he said.

“Therefore I have now decided to put my name forward for the selection convention on 9th July. If I am selected I am absolutely clear in my priority of helping to retain the two seats for Fine Gael in the Louth constituency and to return this Government to office to continue our work to secure the economic recovery.

“I look forward to the convention, to continue working on behalf of my constituents and, if successful, to being part of Fine Gael’s election team in Louth.”

Announcing his decision to step down last week, he said: “The last four and a half years have been both enjoyable and rewarding working on behalf of my constituents and I am looking forward to continuing my work in Dáil Éireann over the coming months.”

His change of heart is thought to have come on foot of conversations with senior party figures including the Taoiseach Enda Kenny earlier this week.

Fitzpatrick is one of two Fine Gael TDs in the five-seat Louth constituency with Fergus O’Dowd being the other.

It had been thought that Fine Gael wanted to run three candidates in Louth at the next election, including at least one woman. However, reports now indicate the party will pursue a two candidate strategy.

Several local councillors have already put their name forward for the selection convention on 9 July, including Dolores Minogue, Colm Markey, Paddy Meade and Sharon Tolan.

Prior to his u-turn, Fitzpatrick’s expected departure was thought to have paved the way for Dundalk-based councillors John McGahon and Maria Doyle to also contest. Their intentions are now unclear.

Previously: Why is this Fine Gael TD NOT running for re-election?

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Hugh O'Connell

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