The Argus - - NEWS - By OLIVIA RYAN

DUN­DALK TD Pe­ter Fitz­patrick has con­firmed his de­par­ture from Fine Gael, and his de­ci­sion to run as an In­de­pen­dent can­di­date in the next gen­eral elec­tion.

In a move which has been the sub­ject of much spec­u­la­tion over the last few weeks, the Dun­dalk man has ad­mit­ted his de­ci­sion was due in part to a feel­ing of be­ing ‘iso­lated’ within Fine Gael.

Deputy Fitz­patrick had been a vo­cal op­po­nent of the calls to re­peal the 8th amend­ment, mak­ing way for abor­tion leg­is­la­tion

But his de­ci­sion to quit the gov­ern­ment party sent shock­waves through the party.

In a state­ment is­sued last week, he ex- plained rea­sons be­hind his de­ci­sion.

‘A num­ber of weeks ago I con­firmed that I would not be seek­ing the Fine Gael nom­i­na­tion to stand in the next Gen­eral Elec­tion.

I in­formed the Fine Gael Par­lia­men­tary Party Chair­man, Mar­tin Hey­don, that I have re­signed as a mem­ber of the party and for the re­main­der of the cur­rent Dail I will rep­re­sent the con­stituents of Louth and East Meath as an In­de­pen­dent TD. I will con­tinue to rep­re­sent the con­stituency with the same en­ergy and com­mit­ment as be­fore.’

He added: ‘ The de­ci­sion to re­sign from Fine Gael was a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to make. I have given 100% com­mit­ment dur­ing my time as a mem­ber of the party and have al­ways been a team player.

I backed the party when some very dif­fi­cult de­ci­sions had to be taken, even when I did not agree with the party I al­ways sup­ported them.’

But he hit out at the party, say­ing: ‘Un­for­tu­nately over the past 15 months I have not been given the same sup­port from Fine Gael as I had given them. My views were not al­ways lis­tened to and I felt iso­lated within the party it­self.’

‘As most peo­ple know my Con­stituency of­fice is one of the busiest in the coun­try, open five days a week and ac­ces­si­ble to all re­gard­less of party loy­alty. For me one of the most re­ward­ing as­pects of be­ing a TD is the in­ter­ac­tion with the pub­lic, as­sist­ing them with is­sues and find­ing res­o­lu­tions.’

He then con­firmed his in­ten­tions for the next gen­eral elec­tion.

‘Af­ter care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion and with the help and ad­vice of my fam­ily, close friends and con­stituents I have de­cided that I would like to con­tinue my ca­reer in pol­i­tics and as a re­sult it is my in­ten­tion to stand as an in­de­pen­dent can­di­date in the next gen­eral elec­tion.

If re-elected I will con­tinue to fight for the con­stituency of Louth and East Meath to en­sure that we re­ceive our fair share of re­sources, jobs and in­vest­ment. It would be a great hon­our for me per­son­ally to con­tinue to rep­re­sent the peo­ple of Louth and East Meath and as an In­de­pen­dent voice I feel we can have a stronger voice in the Dail.’

Deputy Pe­ter Fitz­patrick right who has left Fine Gael and will see out the cur­rent Dáil term as an in­de­pen­dent TD, pic­tured with for­mer Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and for­mer Sen­a­tor Jim D’Arcy dur­ing a visit to Dun­dalk.

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