Ceann Comhairle rejects rumours about resignation

Seán Barrett says will not stand down before general election

Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett: said rumours of his resignation were ‘nonsense’. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett: said rumours of his resignation were ‘nonsense’. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett has insisted he will not stand down from the position before the general election.

He was speaking following renewed speculation he would give up the post to allow another Fine Gael TD to take it over and secure automatic re-election to the next Dáil.

However, speaking to The Irish Times on Thursday, Mr Barrett said rumours of his resignation were “nonsense”.

“There have been rumours that I was stepping down or holding a meeting. It is nonsense. I have no intention of going anywhere. The rumours can be put to bed,” he said.

Mr Barrett, a veteran Fine Gael TD and former cabinet minister, will automatically retain his seat for Dún Laoghaire if he remains Ceann Comhairle up to the dissolution of the current Dáil.

Speculation

In the event of him stepping down, the post would be eagerly sought by a number of Fine Gael TDs whose seats are seen as being in danger.

Jerry Buttimer, chairman of the Oireachtas health committee, has regularly cropped up in speculation to be ceann comhairle if Mr Barrett gave up the office.

Mr Buttimer’s automatic re-election if he was ceann comhairle would reduce Cork South Central from four seats to three and leave Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and the party’s finance spokesman Michael McGrath needing to win two seats out of three if they were both to return to the new Dáil.

Another Fine Gael TD, Olivia Mitchell, who represents Dublin South, is said to be in the running to become the first female ceann comhairle.

However, Mr Barrett was adamant the rumours about his standing down could be put to bed.Speculation about his plans followed comments he made last Christmas when he suggested he might resign as Ceann Comhairle and return to the Fine Gael backbenches before the next election.

In an interview with The Irish Times, he said he would not like to retire from politics as Ceann Comhairle and might decide against taking the free run in the election available to holders of his office.