Following a series of discussions with senior members of the Fine Gael party in recent weeks, I have reached the decision to withdraw my name from contesting the forthcoming General Election.
Despite three candidates being chosen at last years selection convention, it has become clear to me that the best strategy is for two Fine Gael candidates in Laois/Offaly constituency. Therefore, I have taken the decision to sacrifice my own aspirations in a bid to ensure two seats for Fine Gael in the next General Election.
I am fully committed to my role on Offaly County Council and will continue to seek progress on projects I have worked tirelessly to advance. These include the Slieve Bloom Mountain Bike Trails, investment and development of local infrastructure, tourism promotion, supports for small and medium sized enterprises, community involvement & engagement, and establishing Offaly and the region as a great place to live, work, visit and invest.
My dedication to Offaly remains with the objective of achieving further growth in visitor numbers to the area, realising greater opportunity in the tourism sector and further job creation.
My father Percy and I have been privileged to receive the support of Fine Gael members and the people of the Birr Electoral Area, in so many different ways, for almost fifty years. I will continue working for Offaly and would like to reassure my supporters wholeheartedly that my desire to be elected to Dáil Éireann remains unequivocal. But at this moment, my commitment lies with maintaining our current two seats in the constituency.
I want to conclude by expressing my sincere gratitude to my family and everyone at both a local and national level, that have provided advice, encouragement, friendship and support throughout my time to date in politics, which I hope will continue long into the future.