Hayes to contest Dublin constituency for Fine Gael
Declaration comes ahead of Cabinet reshuffle and suggests Hayes felt promotion was unlikely
Minister of State at the Department of Finance Brian Hayes who is to contest the Dublin constituency in the European elections for Fine Gael.
At Leinster House this morning, the TD for Dublin South West dismissed suggestions this morning that he would not be standing in the election if he had not taken part in Richard Bruton’s heave against Enda Kenny’s leadership of Fine Gael in 2010.
“I have had a very good working relationship with the Taoiseach. He didn’t have to appoint me to Government when he came to Government but I think he gave me the best possible Minsiterof State job going quite frankly, in Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure,” he told reporters at Leinster House.
Mr Hayes’ long-expected declaration to fight the May election comes ahead of a Cabinet reshuffle during the summer, suggesting he has already drawn the conclusion that Taoiseach Enda Kenny is unlikely to promote him.
Asked why he was not expecting a full Ministry, Mr Hayes argued that he had a big contribution to make in European politics. “I think some people think that the European Parliament in Brussels is some kind of outer Mongolia - and I think it’s a very dated view quite frankly,” he said.
“We’re a modern country. The Irish people have decided their view on Europe with their support of the Fiscal Treaty and we need a strong team there.”
With sitting Fine Gael MEP Gay Mitchell retiring from the European Parliament, Mr Hayes is already considered the favourite to top the poll in Dublin.
Fine Gael therefore faces the likelihood of a by-election in Dublin later this year. This is on top of whatever by-election follows the nomination Ireland’s next European Commissioner, with Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan the favourite at this point.
Mr Hayes said Mr Kenny believed he stay in his junior ministry during the elction but he will not draw a salary once the campaign begins in earnest.
“Politics is all about doing the best one can in the circumstances one faces - and I know in the circumstances that I face at the moment the best contribution I can make on behalf the Irish people and especially on behalf of the people of Dublin.”
Seen by many obsevers to be a potential future Fine Gael leader, Mr Hayes is considered likely return to national politics at a later date. However, his decision to run for Europe means he unlikely to be a contender whenever Mr Kenny stands down.
Mr Hayes said it was “certainly” his intention to serve a full terms as MEP if he is elected. Asked if he would make a pledge to do so, he said: “Maybe I should have taken the pledge when I was 12 years of age. Listen, I think who knows what’s going to happen into the future.”
While Mr Kenny brought Mr Bruton and supporters such as Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveny into the Cabinet when he won the 2011 election, he gave Mr Hayes only a junior ministry.
Asked if his support for Mr Bruton was the biggest mistake of his political career, Mr Hayes said: “What I’ve always tried to do is to learn from that experience and whether it’s a mistake or not it’s an experience that we have to deal with.”
MEP Nessa Childers has also confirmed she will contest the Dublin constituency in the European Parliament elections.
Ms Childers announced her resignation last July, saying the party was running the country in “a profoundly immoral way”.