Republic of Ireland news

Leo Varadkar pays tribute to former whip who won't run for election again

Brendan Griffin (left) (Handout/PA)
Gráinne Ní Aodha, PA

Leo Varadkar has paid tribute to a Fine Gael backbencher who has confirmed that he will not run as a candidate in the next general election.

Forty-year-old Kerry TD Brendan Griffin said that he was making the decision for the sake of his two young children.

“The reason that I won't be seeking nomination for the next general election is that I have two young sons at home and I have missed an awful lot of their childhood already, and I want to be around for the remainder of their childhood,” he said.

If he were to run again and was re-elected, he said he would be another seven years in the Dail, by the end of which his sons would be 17 and 15.

“My family are extremely important to me, they're the most important thing in my life. Maybe there was a time when politics was – before my kids came along,” he told local station Radio Kerry.

Mr Griffin served as the deputy Government whip from July 2020 to December 2022 and as junior minister for tourism and sport from 2017 to 2020.

The former publican was first elected to the Dail in 2011, having served as a councillor from 2009 and a parliamentary assistant to former TD Jimmy Deenihan until 2007.

Responding to the announcement, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said that Mr Griffin has been “a brilliant representative for Kerry”.

“I understand entirely that he wants to spend more time with his family in the future.

“He was an excellent Minister for Tourism and Sport and throughout his career has been a very effective advocate for rural Ireland.

“Brendan has worked tirelessly for the people of Kerry.

“His legacy includes the two greenways in North Kerry, progress on the south Kerry greenway; which is now in the early stages of construction, improvements on the new Cork to Kerry road; including the Macroom bypass, financial support for Kerry Airport and for sports clubs throughout the county.

“And above all, Brendan has shown unstinting service for the people of Kerry as their public representative.”

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