Mayo TD John O'Mahony has decided to change constituencies to Galway West ahead of the General Election despite previously saying he was being treated as a "moveable feast" by Fine Gael.
The former All-Ireland-winning football manager and constituency colleague of Taoiseach Enda Kenny had suggested gender quota legislation was behind party headquarters’ request to him to move constituencies.
However, on Thursday night he confirmed he had decided to seek a nomination in Galway West “for a number of good reasons”, adding that the “pitch for the next General Election has changed”.
Fine Gael currently holds four of the five seats in Mayo, where it is also represented by Minister of State for Sport Michael Ring in Westport and Michelle Mulherin in Ballina.
The total number of seats in the constituency has been reduced to four and a swathe of Mr O’Mahony’s area in the south, and some 8,000 potential voters, lost to Galway in boundary revisions.
“I believe my participation in the Galway West contest will be positive for voters. I also believe that this is in the best interests of Fine Gael,” he said.
“I am committed to my part in helping the party to win the maximum number of seats in the next General Election so we can continue our job in Government in the best interests of the Irish people.”
In Galway West, the sitting Fine Gael TDs are Seán Kyne and Brian Walsh, while Senator Hildegarde Naughton also hopes to contest.
Galway West will remain a five-seater where a four-candidate strategy was recommended in a recent constituency committee report prepared for Fine Gael’s national executive.
Mr O’Mahony said both Mayo and Galway West shared similar issues that he had worked on during his time in the Dáil. “I also want to make it very clear that I remain absolutely committed to my mandate to represent the people of Mayo until the next General Election,” he said.
He said his office in Claremorris would be maintained, while he intended to open an office in Ballinrobe.
“I have always been a team player and if I receive the nomination to contest the General Election for Fine Gael in Galway West, I will look forward to joining the impressive Fine Gael team in the constituency,” he said.
Earlier this month he told The Irish Times: “I’m being used as the movable feast because of gender quotas.”