‘The fire wasn’t in the belly anymore’ – Paudie Coffey reveals why he decided to quit politics in emotional interview
Waterford Senator Paudie Coffey has insisted the need to spend more time with his family is the only reason behind his surprise decision to quit politics.
In an emotional interview with WLRfm Déise Today presenter Damien Tiernan, the former minister denied that money, health or any other factor motivated his decision not to contest the upcoming General Election.
Senator Coffey, who has three children with his wife Suzanne, said: “I’ve done 20 years in politics and I’ve enjoyed every bit of it … The primary reason is that I want to spend more time with my family.”
His voice tinged with emotion, the Portlaw politician said: “I’m happy I’ve made the right decision. I need to do things for myself and my family now. That’s the way it is. The fire wasn’t in the belly anymore for politics…You need to be committed. Politicians are well paid, but it is a sacrifice.”
Senator Coffey was widely expected to retake the seat he lost at the last general election, particularly after his constituency and party colleague John Deasy announced he wouldn’t be running earlier this year.
Speaking about their much-publicised rivarly, Senator Coffey said: “I’m a team player. When you have one person doing their own thing all the time, it just doesn’t work. I wish John Deasy well. I’m not a bitter person. He did his best for Waterford too, in his own way.”
Last July Senator Coffey settled his High Court action over a newspaper article which he said defamed him when he was compared to an 18th-century highway robber in an article about boundary changes in south Kilkenny.
“I put everything on the line to defend my good family name, and I succeeded,” he said.
He insisted the court case did not cripple him financially. “If anybody thinks that, they can come out to Portlaw and see the nice new house I’m building, and the nice new car I bought this year. It certainly didn’t cripple me,” he said.
Senator Coffey, who is almost 50, said his health was “100%, spot on” and that this had nothing to do with his reason to leave politics.
He thanked the people of Waterford for their support over the years, adding: “I know I’d have been elected, if I ran. I know that … I’m going out on my terms.”