Frank Feighan decides not to contest Roscommon-Galway at general election

Fine Gael TD announces he will stand aside from tough race in best interests of his party

 Frank Feighan: ‘Roscommon hospital will always be associated with my name.’  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Frank Feighan: ‘Roscommon hospital will always be associated with my name.’ Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

 

Fine Gael TD Frank Feighan has confirmed he will not contest the next general election. Mr Feighan, who faced a tough re-election bid in the Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency, said he made the decision in the best interests of the party.

“I have decided not to put my name forward to contest the next general election for Fine Gael in the [new] Roscommon-Galway constituency. This is a personal decision, which is one I have not taken lightly, but one, I feel, taken in the best interest of my party and my constituency,” he said.

Mr Feighan has been strongly criticised for voting in favour of proposals to close the round-the-clock emergency department at Roscommon County Hospital. His colleague Denis Naughten lost the party whip for voting against the decision. Fine Gael had promised during the 2011 general election that services at the hospital would not be reduced.

Mr Feighan said: “Roscommon hospital will always be associated with my name. And I’ll always take pride in the fact that not only is Roscommon hospital safer, but has a long-term future, with a €20 million investment plan taking place there. The introduction of the air ambulance and advanced paramedics has saved many dozens of lives.”

Mr Feighan was being tipped for the Ceann Comhairle position if Seán Barrett stepped down.

In a statement, he said he had worked hard for his constituents and had “always tried to be honourable and decent, and I want to sincerely thank everyone who has supported me throughout my political career. My work as a TD continues. I will continue to fulfil my mandate as the local Fine Gael TD right up until polling day, whenever that may be, with energy and pride.”