Former tánaiste Simon Coveney will not stand in next general election

Former tánaiste Simon Coveney has said he will not stand in the next general election.

The ex-minister said being elected for 26 years “has been the privilege of my life”.

“I will forever be grateful for the faith people in Cork South Central have put in me. Now is the right time for renewal in Fine Gael and for me to change direction,” he said in a statement on X, formerly Twitter.

He did not reveal what he would be doing instead, but said that he was to “step out of politics”.

“I’ve loved almost every day of public life. I’ve had opportunities in politics that I could never have dreamed possible before 1998; as a councillor, a TD, a minister and as a Tánaiste.”

Mr Coveney stood aside as minister for enterprise in April as Simon Harris became Taoiseach and the new leader of Fine Gael.

“I wouldn’t be leaving if I didn’t believe the future was bright,” Mr Coveney said.

“Right across the country we saw new candidates emerge in the recent local elections. Our party is strong and ambitious, our new leader has brought an energy that is reinvigorating the organisation at every level.”

Mr Harris said of Mr Coveney that he was “not just a colleague, he is a friend”.

“He has served his constituency, his party and his country with distinction, most particularly his contribution to protecting our national interest during Brexit is an outstanding legacy.”

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