NOT GOING ANYWHERE Michael Ring and his wife Ann celebrate with family members and supporters after his election back in 2020. The veteran Fine Gael deputy intends to run again in the next General Election. Pic: Michael McLaughlin
Mayo TD Michael Ring has ended speculation about his political future by confirming he will run again in the next General Election.
Speaking to The Mayo News in his office in Leinster House, Ring confirmed he will be seeking to get elected as a TD for Mayo for the eighth time.
“The decision is made, I am running. I’m in as good a shape as I was 20 years ago. Since I haven’t been a minister in the last two years it has given me a bit of relief and I have got myself re-energised again. I’m ready for action and ready to go,” he revealed.
“I am going to represent the people of Mayo as long as I have a breath in me, and as long as they will select me and vote for me, and want me,” he added.
Ring was first elected to Dáil Éireann in 1994 in a by-election after Pádraig Flynn was appointed an EU Commissioner. He subsequently was re-elected in every General Election since – 1997, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2016 and 2020.
The Fine Gael TD went on to stress that being in cabinet did take a lot out of him, with the heavy work load and high-pressure that is involved with the role.
“You can say what you like about ministers but they do work hard. Some days when I was a minister I would arrive into this place (Leinster House) at seven or eight in the morning and not get out until 12 or one o’clock in the night.”
But since being away from that type of environment he feels ‘as good as ever’ and says he is solely focus on working for the people of Mayo.
Ring is in his sixth decade in politics, having been first elected to Westport Urban District Council in 1979. He was a member of Mayo County Council for many years and the Westport man caused an upset in 1994 when defeating the favourite, Beverley Flynn, in the by-election.
It adds intrigue to the next election in Mayo, which will be in 2025 if the current Government lasts a full term.
It remains to be seen if Mayo will be a four-seater with part of the county in Galway West or a full, five seat, county wide constituency following the latest population figures from the 2022 Census, which has Mayo above the maximum threshold of TDs per capita.
A five seater could be a fascinating contest. Ring’s current constituency colleagues Dara Calleary (FF), Alan Dillon (FG) and Rose Conway-Walsh (SF) are all expected to run again.
Sinn Féin may seek to run a second candidate, given their high standing in recent opinion polls.
Charlestown-based Cllr Gerry Murray could be in pole position in that regard.
The strategies of both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil will be interesting in terms of how many candidates they will put forward. Will former TD and Senator Michelle Mulherin run again for Fine Gael? Will Fianna Fáil run a candidate in the east of the county along with Calleary and Senator Lisa Chambers?
Independent candidates could step forward too with Ballina-based Cllr Mark Duffy, Castlebar-based Cllr Michael Kilcoyne and south Mayo-based Cllr Patsy O’Brien some who may consider going forward.