Flynn not to stand in next election

 

MAYO FIANNA Fáil TD Beverley Flynn has surprised colleagues by deciding not to contest the forthcoming general election.

Ms Flynn made the announcement at a Fianna Fáil meeting in her Co Mayo constituency last night.

Ms Flynn cited personal reasons for her decision when she addressed the Mayo Fianna Fáil Dáil ceantair in Castlebar. The 43-year-old mother of two told supporters that she wanted to devote more time to her young family. She is expected to make a lengthier statement about her reasons today.

Ms Flynn’s popularity had not been helped locally by the stance she took in the recent battle to retain cancer services at Mayo General Hospital.

Ms Flynn’s close friend, Councillor Damien Ryan (FF) of Ballinrobe, south Mayo, said the announcement had come as a shock, even though there had been “rumblings in the past few days”.

“This decision has thrown Fianna Fáil’s plans for the election in Mayo into chaos,” Mr Ryan said.

In a statement last night Taoiseach Brian Cowen described Ms Flynn as “a very able politician who has been assiduous in her attention to the needs of her constituents” and he thanked her for her “commitment to politics and for her efforts on behalf of the Fianna Fáil party”.

Ms Flynn has been embroiled in controversy during her 13 years in the Dáil and was expelled from the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party on three occasions.

A daughter of former minister and EU commissioner Pádraig Flynn, she first ran for the Dáil in 1994 in a byelection to fill the vacancy created by the departure of her father from the Dáil to take up the commissioner’s post in Brussels.

However, in a political upset that had serious consequences for the Fianna Fáil-Labour coalition she lost to Michael Ring of Fine Gael.

The outcome paved the way for a change of government later in 1994 when Labour pulled out of the coalition with Fianna Fáil and formed a rainbow coalition with Fine Gael.

Ms Flynn was elected to the Dáil in the general election of 1997 and was widely tipped for rapid promotion.

However, two years later she ran into conflict with her party over a Dáil motion asking her father to clarify allegations about his receipt of a financial contribution from developer Tom Gilmartin. Ms Flynn voted against the motion and was expelled from the parliamentary party.

She was accepted back into the parliamentary party within a year but was again expelled as a result of a failed libel action against RTÉ for a report on her activities while she worked for National Irish Bank.

She was again accepted back into the parliamentary party and ran successfully as a Fianna Fáil candidate in the 2002 general election.

In 2004 she was again expelled from the parliamentary party and also from the Fianna Fáil organisation when the Supreme Court upheld the High Court judgment in the libel case. She subsequently settled a court case with RTÉ over the €2.4 million costs of her failed libel action against the broadcaster.

Ms Flynn was elected as an Independent in the 2007 general election.

She voted for the election of Bertie Ahern as taoiseach and was later accepted back into Fianna Fáil.