Deirdre Clune Statement
“Earlier this month, I informed the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, that I will not be seeking nomination from my party to contest the European elections in June 2024.
“Taking the decision to step away from public office was not an easy one.
“Ever since I first walked through the doors of Dáil Éireann 27 years ago, I have striven to serve my constituents with determined resolve.
“Over the best part of the last three decades, I have been privileged to serve as a Fine Gael Councillor, TD, Senator, and Member of the European Parliament.
“I would like to thank the Fine Gael Members of Cork South Central and subsequently Ireland South who placed their trust in me over the years. It has been an honour to represent you.
“To Conor, my husband – thank you. Along with our four sons, you have always encouraged and supported me since I first sought election in 1997.
“Politics is demanding. It requires much sacrifice, not least from close family members. There is absolutely no doubt that without the support of my family, I would not have had the privilege to serve in public office.
“I have been most fortunate to work alongside some very talented, trustworthy and earnest people in my career, whose commitment has been invaluable.
“For the past nine and a half years, I have represented the people of Ireland South in the European Parliament.
“Working in Brussels and Strasbourg, I have seen first-hand how Europe has played a defining role in Ireland’s emergence as a modern, open society and economy.
“Ireland’s EU journey has been nothing less than transformational. Europe has given us reach and influence in the world. It has facilitated our peace process. It has delivered on equality, opportunity and freedom.
“Europe has also taught me that the ability to ‘compromise’ is not a weakness. It is the essence of a healthy democracy.
“For the remainder of this parliamentary term, I intend to continue my work, serving the people of Ireland South in Europe.
“I am looking forward to the next chapter of my political life where I will revert to being a Fine Gael activist and supporting the next generation of public representatives who will serve you.”
An Taoiseach and Fine Gael party leader Leo Varadkar said:
“I was sorry to hear from Deirdre that she has decided not to contest next June’s European Elections.
“Her distinguished career of more than 26 years speaks for itself as she has served her constituents proudly and admirably in the European Parliament, Dáil, Seanad and as Lord Mayor of Cork and a city councillor. Not many politicians have achieved this feat of being elected to almost every possible chamber at local, national and international level by the electorate.
“This accomplishment tells us of the faith the people of Cork and Ireland South have had in Deirdre to represent them at all levels repeatedly. Working alongside me in Leinster House, Deirdre, helped me as a newly elected TD, with her experience and expert knowledge. She worked diligently and successfully on enterprise, jobs and innovation from 2007 to 2014 before her first successful election to the European Parliament.
“In Europe, Deirdre has been at the forefront of consumer protection and the rights of cancer survivors. Deirdre was recently appointed as the European Parliament’s lead negotiator for Customs Reforms which will be the most ambitious and comprehensive reforms of the EU Customs Union since its establishment in 1968. I know Deirdre will continue to work diligently in Europe for her constituents.
“A proud Corkwoman, Deirdre and her family can look back with great pride on her achievements. We in Fine Gael are extremely grateful for all that Deirdre has done for her country and party.”