November 29, 2020
News

Shock as Waterford Senator Paudie Coffey announces he is quitting politics

The Waterford General Election battlefield was blown wide open after the shock annoucement by Senator Paudie Coffey that he is quitting the political arena.

The former minister, who was instrumental is getting the North Quays site designated as a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ), today confirmed he will not be contesting the next election, which is likely to take place early next year.

The annoucement came as a huge surprise as Sentor Coffey was widely expected to regain the seat he lost at the last election, particularly after his bitter rival and constituency colleague John Deasy pulled out of the race earlier this year.

Senator Coffey was known as a very effective operator behind-the-scenes in Government and his decision leaves the Waterford constituency without one of its most experienced  and capable politicians.

In a statement issued to local media today, Senator Coffey said he has “notified the Taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael Leo Varadkar” and party’s General Secretary Tom Curran of his decision.

Senator Coffey was selected by local Fine Gael members over two years ago to stand in the General Election.

However, Senator Coffey said that “in recent weeks” he has reflected on his position, which culminated in his decision this weekend “to leave public life when the current 25th Seanad term ends”.

Senator Coffey has served his constituency at various levels in local and national politics since he was first elected as a county councillor in 1999.

The Portlaw politician 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.

“I look forward now to focusing on the next chapter of my life and spending more time with my wife and three
children and I am also excited about new opportunities that may present themselves in the time ahead.“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 said he also wished to acknowledge “the huge contribution of the many local community, business, sporting and farming representative groups as well as civic society advocates” he has worked with down through the years.

He thanked local media, “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”.

Senator Coffey also paid tribute to his Fine Gael colleagues, past and present, and wished the party’s two remaining candidates, Cllr John Cummins and Cllr Damien Geoghegan “the very best in the forthcoming General Election”.

He added: “Being a public representative is a huge privilege and I have had that honour for over 20 years.  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.”

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