Senator Paul Bradford, who was elected to the Dáil in 1989, 1992, and 1997 — and who amazingly lost a seat in 2007 despite gaining 8,900 first preference votes — confirmed last night that it was time to step aside for “younger blood” to represent the party in the Cork East constituency.
He is the latest casualty in FG ranks in the county, following the resignation of the party’s two stalwarts in the Cork South-West constituency — Paddy Sheehan and Jim O’Keeffe.
Mr Bradford, 45, from Mourneabbey, near Mallow, said he was basing his decision in part to step down because of on a shift in constituency boundaries.
His heartland of Mourneabbey, and rural areas south of Mallow, has been transferred into the more traditionally urbanised Cork North Central constituency.
Such a ‘hit’ on his electoral boundaries would result in him losing around 2,000 core first preference voters, he said.
Mr Bradford’s was elected to Cork County Council in 1985 and retained a seat until he was forced to relinquish it in 2003.
He was elected to the Seanad in 1987 and was re-elected to the Seanad on occasions in-between when he wasn’t successful in the race for the Dáil.
“I have written to Fine Gael members telling them I will not be contesting the convention which will be held in Mitchelstown next Sunday,” he said.
The senator got engaged to Lucinda Creighton, the sitting FG TD in the Dublin South-East constituency, earlier this year. He said last night that no date had yet been arranged for their wedding and he would remain in Mourneabbey at least for the immediate future to support the FG canvass in the region.
“I will be here to ensure that we put a huge effort into securing support for the party, our candidates and constituents.”
Three candidates have emerged in the Mallow area to replace him.
The favourite at present is Killavullen-based businessman Tom Barry, with his county councillor colleagues Noel O’Connor (Mallow) and Patrick O’Driscoll (Rathcormac) running a short neck behind.
In the southern part of the constituency it is expected to be a two-horse race between sitting TD David Stanton (Midleton) and the leader of FG on the county council, Michael Hegarty, (Ladysbridge) for the other nomination.