Cork Fine Gael TD Dara Murphy not to seek re-election

Party stalwart plans to concentrate on his work within the European People’s Party

Dara Murphy extended his thanks to “all members of Fine Gael”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Dara Murphy extended his thanks to “all members of Fine Gael”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

 

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has led tributes to former minister of State and Cork North Central TD Dara Murphy who has announced that he will not be running for Fine Gael in the next general election.

Mr Murphy (48) who was removed as minister of State for Europe when Mr Varadkar succeeded Enda Kenny as leader of Fine Gael and Taoiseach in June 2017 is to focus instead on working with European People’s Party.

Mr Varadkar expressed his gratitude to the Cork man for his work for the party.

“I want to thank Dara for his extraordinary service to Fine Gael and to Cork as a councillor, TD and minister. I am pleased that he will continue as director of elections for the EPP for the European elections, and to remain as EPP vice-president. He has my full support on both counts.”

Mr Murphy, who was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 2011, informed Fine Gael party members in Cork North Central in a letter that he would not be contesting the selection convention for the four seat Cork North Central constituency next month.

“I would like to thank you, all members of Fine Gael, for your continued support over the last 20 years that I have been involved in local and national politics,” said Mr Murphy in the letter, adding that it was “a privilege” to represent Ireland in Europe as a minister of State.

Mr Murphy said that he was grateful to the members of Fine Gael for supporting him especially over the last few years while working in Europe. “This was a most interesting and challenging time, particularly with Brexit. I am very grateful for your immense support throughout this period.”

Mr Murphy saw off the challenge of Fine Gael Senator Colm Burke at the party’s selection convention in 2016 but then had Fine Gael newcomer Julie O’Leary added to the ticket as the party decided to run two candidates in that year’s general election.

Mr Murphy polled 5,264 or 10.29 per cent of first preferences to take the final seat behind Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher, Mick Barry of Solidarity and Jonathan O’Brien of Sinn Féin as he held off the challenge of outgoing Labour TD Kathleen Lynch. He was elected on the 11th count.

A married father of three, Mr Murphy first ran unsuccessfully for Fine Gael in the 1999 local elections in the Cork North East ward of Cork City Council but he was subsequently elected in 20024 and re-elected in 2009 when he served as lord mayor which he described as “an immense honour”.

According to Fine Gael sources, both Senator Burke and Ms O’Leary are expected to contest the Fine Gael selection convention next month when the local organisation will decide who its standard bearer will be in the next general election.

Meanwhile, Senator Burke has also paid tribute to his constituency colleague and rival, saying that while he was surprised to discover that he would not be contesting the next general election, he wished him every success for the future.

“Dara has made a fine contribution to the politics of Cork and Ireland for many years. A former Lord Mayor of Cork, Dara has represented the people of Cork North Central in Leinster House with distinction and I would like to thank for his contribution to Cork politics,” he said.