Former minister for agriculture and Fine Gael TD Michael Creed has announced that he will not be contesting the next general election, bringing to an end more than 50 years of Creed representation in Dáil Éireann.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar led tributes to the former minister who said on Monday he does not intend to contest the next general election, bringing to an end over 50 years of Creed representation in Dáil Éireann.
Mr Varadkar praised Mr Creed (59) for both his dedication to his constituents in Cork North West which extends from Macroom in Mid-Cork to Charleville in North Cork while he also paid tribute to him for his work as Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
“Michael has been an exceptional representative for Cork North West who has worked tirelessly for his constituents and in recent years he can point to the opening of the Macroom-Ballyvourney bypass as a major achievement,” said Mr Varadkar.
“Michael was a committed Minister for Agriculture who championed Irish farming and fishing and sought to protect and grow these sectors in the face of various challenges. Above all, Michael is a true gentleman, who will be missed from the parliamentary party. I wish him well in the future.”
In a statement, Mr Creed expressed his gratitude to the people of Cork North West for re-electing him over the years and he pledged to continue to represent them to the best of his ability for the rest of his time in Dáil Éireann.
“I will always be grateful to the people of Cork North West for giving me the privilege of representing them in Dáil Éireann. It is my firm intention to continue to work on their behalf until the end of the current Dáil term.
“My commitment to the Fine Gael party and its leadership is unchanged. I informed the Taoiseach of my decision some days ago. I wish the Fine Gael party and all my Oireachtas colleagues the very best. Politics by its nature requires renewal and it’s time for me to move on.”
Mr Creed, a native of Macroom in Mid-Cork, was first elected to Dáil Éireann for Cork North West in 1989, taking the seat previously held by his father, Donal, who had been first elected to the Dáil in the old Mid-Cork constituency in 1965.
Mr Creed snr had been appointed a Minister of State by former taoiseach Garret FitzGerald in 1981. In 2016, Michael Creed was appointed to Cabinet by taoiseach Enda Kenny when he was appointed Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Mr Creed had been a front bench spokesman on agriculture for Fine Gael from 2007 to 2010, having regained his seat in Dáil Éireann which he lost in 2002 to running mate Gerard Murphy and he topped the poll in 2011 to comfortably hold his seat.
However, in June 2010, he supported Richard Bruton’s leadership challenge to Enda Kenny and he was not reappointed to the front bench after Mr Kenny successfully saw off the challenge and Mr Creed reverted to the backbenches after Fine Gael went into Coalition with Labour.
However, to the surprise of many, Mr Creed was appointed minister for agriculture by Mr Kenny in the 2016 Fine Gael minority Government, and he retained the position when Leo Varadkar succeeded Mr Kenny as taoiseach in 2017 but lost his ministerial position in the current Coalition.
Cork North West Fine Gael constituency chairperson Aileen Browne last night paid tribute to Mr Creed for his service to the people of Cork North West after he confirmed at a constituency meeting that he would not be contesting the next general election.
“On behalf of all the members, I want to thank Michael for his outstanding contribution to both local and national politics and to wish him and his family the very best of luck,” said Ms Browne in tribute to the veteran TD.
Mr Creed is the second prominent politician to announce that they will not be running in Cork North West in the next general election following the announcement earlier this year by former Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ni Riada that she will not be running in the constituency for the party.
Mr Creed was one of three young Cork TDs, along with Taoiseach Micheál Martin of Fianna Fáil and Paul Bradford of Fine Gael, all in their 20s who were first elected in 1989 and with Mr Creed now stepping down, Mr Martin is the sole political survivor preparing to contest the next election.