Senator Paudie Coffey has notified the Taoiseach and Leader of Fine Gael Leo Varadkar TD and the Party’s General Secretary Tom Curran that he will not be contesting the next General Election whenever it may be held.
Over two years ago Senator Coffey was selected by the membership of Fine Gael in the Waterford Constituency to stand in the General Election as a Fine Gael Candidate.
However, in recent weeks he says he has reflected on his position and has made the decision to leave public life when the current 25th Seanad term ends.
Senator Coffey has served at various levels in local and national politics since he was first elected as a County Councillor in 1999.
In a statement issued yesterday (Monday), Senator Coffey said: “I have been privileged to have represented my community as a public representative for over 20 years and I have been honoured during that time to serve as a member of Waterford County Council, Deputy Mayor of County Waterford, Chairman of the South East Regional Authority, a member of both Dáil and Seanad Eireann and also Minister of State.”The Portlaw native said he looks forward to focusing on the next chapter of his life and spending more time with his wife and three children.
“I am also excited about new opportunities that may present themselves in the time ahead,” said Senator Coffey.“I would like to sincerely thank my wife Suzanne, my two brothers Eoin and Brendán and my sister Máiread and our extended family for their unstinting support over the years which is so important for one involved in public life. I would also like to thank my staff and loyal supporters and friends who campaigned and worked with me in seven election campaigns and the Fine Gael membership who placed their trust in me to be their standard bearer for all of these years.”
Senator Coffey also acknowledged the “huge contribution” of the many local community, business, sporting and farming representative groups as well as civic society advocates that he has worked with over the years. “I want to also express my gratitude to the council, departmental and state agency officials who I have worked so closely with for the betterment of Waterford and our society,” he said. “I would also like to thank the Waterford media specifically, both broadcast and print, for the very fair manner in which they engaged with me and reported my involvement in public life over the years.”
He went on to also thank his colleagues in the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party, past and present, and the Fine Gael Councillors who have supported him and said he wished them all the very best in their representative roles in the years ahead.“Being a public representative is a huge privilege and I have had that honour for over 20 years,” he said.“Indeed, my family have had that honour too having represented the people of our community for over 52 years and I would like to sincerely thank all of the Waterford voters who placed their trust in me in successive elections.”
He concluded: “I would like to especially wish my two Fine Gael colleagues and General Election Candidates, Cllrs John Cummins and Damien Geoghegan the very best in the forthcoming General Election.”
Statement from An Taoiseach
An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar paid tribute to Senator Paudie Coffey. “I want to thank Paudie for 20 years of unbroken service as a Minister of State, TD, Senator, and Councillor,” he said.
“I’m very sorry to hear about his decision but I can understand his wish to spend more time with his wife and family and pursue other opportunities. He has been a fantastic representative for Waterford and we will miss him in the party. Paudie is currently a member of the Seanad and is a regular contributor to the business of the House. He would almost certainly have been re-elected to the next Dáil had he decided to contest the general election.”
Mr Varadkar said Fine Gael has a “strong ticket” in Waterford for the upcoming general election.“I am confident we will hold our seat there, having won the most votes in Waterford in recent local elections and the last general election,” he said. “In the meantime, I wish Paudie the very best in the next stage of his professional life, and thank him for his hard work and dedication to Fine Gael.”