Mayo Fianna Fail TD Beverley Cooper Flynn was due to announce last night (Thursday ) that she will not be running for election in the upcoming 2011 general election as she has decided to quit national politics due to family reasons.
Ms Flynn was uncontactable at the time the Mayo Advertiser went to print last night but a close source confirmed that the Castlebar deputy has decided not to run again.
Noting that the meeting of the Dáil Ceantair in the Welcome Inn scheduled for 8.30pm last night was set for a full house, Fianna Fail county councillor, Jimmy Moloney stated:
“She has her children to look after and this is the big thing she is upset about. She's away from them so much, it was a family decision. There is no question that the reason she is going is because she is going to lose her seat. It's very hard on her kids going to school and trying to get people to mind kids and bring them to school, it’s absolutely dreadful.”
The repercussions of the decision are huge for Fianna Fáil in both Castlebar and Mayo, Cllr Moloney added. “It’s terrible for the whole of Mayo and Castlebar. She was a good politician and with the general election coming there's no popular Fianna Fáil person in Castlebar. They'll have to come up with someone — they cannot leave the floor open to Enda Kenny. I think there will be a candidate running in Castlebar, a Castlebar person and possibly someone in Claremorris.”
Cllr Moloney, who is known as Beverley’s right-hand man and staunch supporter over the years, said he knew Beverley had been under pressure “trying to get someone to mind the kids”. Even had the Greens not forced a general election for Spring 2011, he believed “she wasn't giong to run anyways”.
Deputy Flynn’s record would stand for itself and all the people she helped over the years, Cllr Moloney added.
“She was a great worker, a mighty worker, no doubt about it, she has done a lot of things for people, people in trouble, needing support, the health issues. Tonight could be a long night, paying tributes, she is a close friend and this is very disappointing news as I certainly thought she would go further; she was ministerial quality.”
As for the troubles regarding the National Irish Bank bogus non-residents accounts and the RTE libel case, Cllr Moloney stated: “She will be remembered as someone the bank used, she really was used, when you think of what the bank manager did and the bank policies in place. When she was in trouble, I always thought she was very badly done by and the banks made a scapecoat of her. She came out very well of all the trouble she was in with all the media and all the cameras looking for her. She came back and was fit to be elected as an Independent in her time. It shows she had her work done, especially in the rural areas where she is very highly thought of. People will miss her.”
The Castlebar based TD’s seat which she has held since 1997 was considered one that Fianna Fáil were in danger of losing, given that she was located in the same town as Fine Gael party leader Enda Kenny and the potential challenge from the very popular Independent county councillor Michael Kilcoyne.
Flynn (44 ) is the daughter of former Government minister and EU Commissioner Pádraig Flynn and was first elected to the Dáil in 1997 after losing out on claiming her father’s seat in a bye-election in 1994 to Michael Ring of Fine Gael. Flynn was returned to the Dáil in the 2002 and 2007 general elections, having run as an Independent in 2007 after she was expelled from the party in 2004 following her unsuccessful libel case against RTÉ. She was readmitted to the Fianna Fáil party in April of 2008 but since her readmittence has been passed up for promotion unlike her constituency colleague, Dep Dara Calleary who was made a Minister of State in Brian Cowen’s cabinet less than two years after he was elected to the Dáil for the first time.