Senator Fidelma Healy Eames announces she is leaving politics

Former Fine Gael member nominates the Jack & Jill Foundation’s Jonathan Irwin for Seanad

Outgoing Senator Fidelma Healy Eames is nominating  Jonathan Irwin from the Jack & Jill Foundation for a Seanad seat. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Outgoing Senator Fidelma Healy Eames is nominating Jonathan Irwin from the Jack & Jill Foundation for a Seanad seat. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

Independent Senator Fidelma Healy Eames has announced her retirement from politics.

In a statement posted on her Facebook page on Wednesday night, Ms Healy Eames said she will not re-contest her Seanad seat and is nominating Jonathan Irwin from the Jack & Jill Foundation to take her seat.

“I have been honoured to be elected to serve as a public representative for almost twelve years, as a Galway County Councillor for the Oranmore electoral area from 2004-2007 and as a Senator from 2007-2016.

“Leaving politics has not been an easy decision to make and I’m grateful to the Oireachtas members offering to nominate me to re-contest the Seanad.

“Instead I’ve chosen to nominate Jonathan Irwin from the Jack & Jill Foundation as a champion for disabilities and home care for sick children. I wish him every success in the upcoming elections. His voice and experience as an advocate is vital in the Seanad. The struggle of children and adults with disabilities remains a cause close to my heart.

“I thank you for the opportunity to serve. It has been a privilege to contribute to the wellbeing of our people and our country.”

Ms Healy Eames was a Galway County Councillor for the Oranmore area before her election to the Seanad in 2007.

A former Fine Gael and Reform Alliance member, Ms Healy Eames lost the party whip when she voted against the party on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill in 2013.

She unsuccessfully contested the general election in Galway West as an Independent candidate last month.

She received 1,394 first preference votes and was eliminated on the fifth count.

Last March she received criticism when she suggested on Twitter that the legalisation of same sex marriage in Ireland would signal the end of Mother’s Day.