Fine Gael’s Paudie Coffey will not stand in next election

Former minister of state for housing has been a Senator since 2016

Senator Paudie Coffey. Photograph: Collins Courts

Senator Paudie Coffey. Photograph: Collins Courts

 

Fine Gael Senator Paudie Coffey has said he will not stand for the party at the next general election.

It means that both Fine Gael’s sitting Oireachtas members from Waterford – TD John Deasy and Mr Coffey – will not stand at the next election.

The party has another two candidates, Damien Geoghegan and John Cummins, selected for election.

Mr Coffey, from Waterford, has served as a Senator since May 2016. He previously served as Minister of State for Housing and Planning from 2014 to 2016.

“I have been privileged to have represented my community as a representative for 20 years,” he said.

“I look forward now to focusing on the next chapter of my life and spending more time with my wife and three children.

“I would like to especially wish my two Fine Gael colleagues and general election candidates, Cllrs John Cummins and Damien Geoghegan the very best in the forthcoming general election.”

In a statement, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Mr Coffey “almost certainly” would have been re-elected to the next Dail if he had run.

Mr Varadkar thanked him for “20 years of unbroken service as a minister of state, TD, senator, and councillor.”

“I’m very sorry to hear about his decision but I can understand his wish to spend more time with his wife and family and pursue other opportunities. He has been a fantastic representative for Waterford and we will miss him in the party.

“A former member of Waterford County Council, he also held the post of deputy mayor of county Waterford, was chairman of the South East Regional Authority, and later served as minister of state for housing and planning.

“Paudie is currently a member of the Seanad and is a regular contributor to the business of the House. He would almost certainly have been re-elected to the next Dáil had he decided to contest the general election.”

Mr Varadkar said that Fine Gael has a “strong ticket” in Waterford despite Mr Coffey’s decision.

“I am confident we will hold our seat there, having won the most votes in Waterford in recent local elections and the last general election,” he said.

In July, Mr Coffey settled his High Court action over a newspaper article which he said defamed him when he was likened to an 18th century highway robber in an article about boundary changes in south Kilkenny.