Fine Gael Councillor Micheál Carrigy has ruled himself out of seeking the party’s nomination at its upcoming Longford Westmeath Convention.
The Ballinalee postmaster had been rumoured to be weighing up the idea, leading to an article on the Leader’s ‘Parish Pump’ page two weeks ago.
Much of that speculation had been centred on Cllr Carrigy’s poll topping exploits in last year’s local elections.
However, speaking to this newspaper on Tuesday, Cllr Carrigy said he would not be putting his name forward for consideration.
“Not this time, no,” replied the Fine Gael group leader, stating his rationale was geared towards ensuring Fine Gael returned at least two constituency TDs.
“My view is that I didn’t want to be splitting the Longford vote at a Convention.
“I feel Fine Gael will be in government at the next Dáil.
“The most important thing is that we have two Longford-Westmeath TDs in government and a Longford-based candidate at the next Dáil.”
Cllr Carrigy said although he was officially declaring himself out of the running this time, he remained keen to further his own political career on the national stage.
And he thanked those that had approached him to consider entering the race, saying his focus on furthering Longford’s all-round fortunes hadn’t changed.
“It’s just not the time for me,” he added.
“But I will be putting my name forward at the next election whenever that may be.”
Cllr Carrigy’s decision means sitting local TD James Bannon will likely be the only Longford-based candidate on the party’s ticket.
He looks set to be joined by the constituency’s other sitting TD Gabrielle McFadden and Westmeath Co Cllr Peter Burke.
The Mullingar born local representative confirmed he too would be seeking the party’s nomination at its Convention on June 29.
Cllr Burke told the Leader he will be seeking to make it third time lucky after contesting the 2007 and 2011 general elections.
The NUIG graduate said he hoped to erase memories of being dubbed one of the “unluckiest candidates” four years ago after securing more than 6,600 first preferences.