Fine Gael TD for Kerry Brendan Griffin has confirmed that he will not contest the next general election.
It was first revealed by the Irish Examiner on Friday that Mr Griffin was one of nine Fine Gael TDs who are not expected to run in the next election, in what will be a significant blow to party leader Leo Varadkar
In a letter to party members and councillors last night, Mr Griffin wrote that after much consultation with his family he will not be seeking a nomination to stand in the next general election.
“The reasons for this is a straightforward one. I have two young sons and I want to be around them more for the remaining years of their childhood,” he said.
"It is also a job that takes you away from home and loved ones for long periods of time on a regular basis.
"And when you are at home, your mind is often preoccupied with any number of issues and challenges," he added.
There has been speculation about Mr Griffin's intentions after he was overlooked for the position of chief whip during the recent Cabinet reshuffle.
Mr Griffin acknowledged Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar for having confidence in him when appointing him Minister of State for Tourism and Sport in 2017 and his subsequent appointment as deputy chief whip.
Mr Griffin is based in Castlemaine, in what is now a five-seat constituency uniting Kerry North and Kerry South. He was first elected to the Dáil in 2011 after spending three years in the county council.
In an interview with Radio Kerry's, Mr Griffin said chief whip’s job would have suited him and he was disappointed not to get it.
The journey home that night after his last job as deputy chief whip to organise the election of the Taoiseach was "long, wet and lonesome" and felt like coming back to Kerry after losing the All-Ireland, he said.
“The whip’s job would have suited me family-wise, based in Leinster House,” he said.
The reality was if he accepted a junior ministry he was facing seven more years and his children would be older teenagers.
He was “straight up” with the Taoiseach and had an hour-long conversation with him.
Mr Griffin added that he "hated" travelling abroad as junior minister and being away from his family for 17-hour days.
Covid and being at home for three months in a row for the first time in years had shown him a different way of life, Mr Griffin said.
“That taste of being at home, just being at home at night time. It really was an eye opener in terms of what the craziness of the previous three years entailed,” he said.
Politics for him was never about personal ambition and he said he would not do the Taoiseach’s job for the world.
Mr Griffin has no plans post politics, but stressed he had given 20 years to Fine Gael and will continue to work for the party making sure it will retain its seat in Kerry.
Meanwhile, speculation has moved to who will replace him with sitting councillors Aoife Thornton in Listowel, Patrick Connor-Scarteen in Kenmare and Bobby O’Connell in Castleisland, seen as contenders.