Dublin: Brian Cowen Not Standing In The General Election: UPDATED

31 Jan

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has announced he will not contest the general election.

Mr Cowen tonight said he had come to the decision following talks with his family and newly elected Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin.

He said the Fianna Fáil organisation in the Laois-Offaly area had wanted him to contest the election, which is expected to take place on February 25th.

Mr Cowen said it was time to give the new party leader and frontbench team he appointed earlier today “a break”.

He said Mr Martin had not asked him to stand down.

“Everyone in the Fianna Fáil party wanted to see me stand again,” he told Midlands Radio 103.

Mr Cowen said he would remain strongly supportive of Mr Martin and the party.

He believed the party’s new leader could lead Fianna Fáil into a very good election effort.

In a statement, Mr Cowen said he was humbled by the messages of support he had received. “The genuine decency and warmth of people in this country is one of our finest traits and long may that be so.”

A Fianna Fáil meeting took place in the Tullamore Court Hotel at 6pm this evening to make arrangements for selection convention scheduled to take place in the constituency tomorrow night.

Mr Cowen will dissolve the Dáil tomorrow afternoon and the election date will then be set. 

The Dail will reconvene at 2.30pm with a statement from Mr Cowen and expected remarks from the leaders of Fine Gael, Labour, Sinn Féin and the Greens, who pulled out of coalition the day after Mr Cowen resigned as Fianna Fáil leader.

The Taoiseach will then attend Áras an Uachtaráin in the Phoenix Park to ask President Mary McAleese to formally dissolve parliament.

NEWS UPDATE:

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has announced he will not be contesting the General Election.

 Brian Cowen - Made decision after discussions with family
Brian Cowen – Made decision after discussions with family

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has announced he will not be contesting the General Election.

Mr Cowen made the announcement on Midlands 103.

Read Brian Cowen’s statement here

He said he had full support in the county and the preference of his team was that he run in the upcoming election.

He said the issue for him in making up his mind was what direction he wanted to take in life now and also to recognise that he held the highest office in the land during a very difficult three years.

He said he made the decisoon after consulting with his family over the weekend.

A cumann meeting took place in the Tullamore Court Hotel at 6pm to make final arrangements for tomorrow night’s selection convention and to discuss the party strategy.

There has also been increased uncertainty about whether or not the Fianna Fáil TD in Laois John Moloney will run for re-election.

Last night, Donegal North East TD Niall Blaney said he would not be contesting the election, citing personal reasons for his decision.

Cork North Central TD Noel O’Flynn said he would not run in order to maximise the chances of his constituency colleague Billy Kelleher.

The two men were the latest Fianna Fáil TDs to say they would not be contesting the election, with several ministers announcing their retirement in recent weeks.

Full list of TDs not standing in the General Election

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