Barrett not seeking re-election to Ceann Comhairle post

Friday 12 February 2016 14.57
Sean Barrett wants to return to the political fray
Sean Barrett wants to return to the political fray

Sean Barrett has said that he will not be seeking re-election to the post of Ceann Comhairle in the next Dáil.

Mr Barrett is automatically returned as a TD after the General Election, but said he wants to return to the political fray.

Speaking to RTÉ News, he said: "I feel I have done my thing and I'm getting on in years.

"What I would like to do in my last term in parliament here is ... saying things I want to say and raising issues I want to raise.

"I have decided I won't put my name forward [for Ceann Comhairle]."

The next Ceann Comhairle will not be required to be nominated by the Taoiseach but will be elected by TDs.

Asked what advice he would give to the next holder of the office, Mr Barrett said: "The only advice I would give to anybody is to go in with the idea that you have to be independent.

"And that you have to leave aside your party affiliations and that you have to try and display at all times in the chamber that you're an independent minded person."

Mr Barrett was Ceann Comhairle of the 31st Dáil and Chair of the Committee on Procedure and Privileges.

In the last Dáil he was frontbench spokesperson on foreign affairs and also served as chairperson of the all party joint Oireachtas committee on climate change and energy security.

During his career in national politics, he has served as Government Chief Whip and minister for sport in the Garret FitzGerald government and minister for defence and the marine in the rainbow government led by John Bruton.