Mathews unveiled as FG candidate


BANKING commentator Peter Mathews has been unveiled by Fine Gael as its third candidate in the Dublin South constituency.

Mr Mathews, a prominent critic of Government policy on the economic crisis on television programmes over the last two years, has been added to the party ticket for the five-seat constituency, having joined Fine Gael in the past month.

Mr Mathews was introduced to the media on the Leinster House plinth yesterday by TDs Alan Shatter and Olivia Mitchell.

He said his main priority if elected would be to contribute to the reconstruction of the economy and the “powerhosing” of problem areas of society. A new government’s first task should be to renegotiate the €85 billion Memorandum of Understanding with the IMF, EU and ECB.

Mr Mathews, a chartered accountant by training, claims to have predicted the size of the property bubble and opposed the creation of the National Asset Management Agency.

He said yesterday he told the Department of Finance in January 2009 that the level of writedowns in property values would exceed €50 billion but wasn’t believed at the time.

He will be attempting to win for Fine Gael the seat captured by RTÉ economist and former Dáil deputy George Lee in a byelection.

Mr Lee gave up the seat after eight months over differences with the party leadership.

Mr Mathews denied that he was a “celebrity economist” or “George Lee Mark II” candidate. He said comparisons with Mr Lee were irrelevant and his background as a banking analyst was “actually quite boring”.

Mr Mathews was a member of the Progressive Democrats at the time of their foundation but left shortly after.

His wife Susan was involved in Young Fine Gael. The couple have four grown-up children and live in Mount Merrion.

Among those battling for a seat in Dublin South will be former stockbroker Senator Shane Ross, another prominent critic of current economic policy.

Mr Ross, who was once a member of Fine Gael and was approached by the party this time around, is standing as an Independent.

The leader of the Labour Party group on Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Cllr Aidan Culhane, has been added to the party ticket in the constituency.

Mr Culhane (40), from Dundrum, who has been elected at the last three local elections, said his aim was to win one of two seats for the party in Dublin South where it does not hold a seat. The other Labour candidate is Senator Alex White.