FORMER Mayo TD Michelle Mulherin has turned down a Fine Gael party nomination to contest the forthcoming Senate elections.
In a statement issued to The Connaught Telegraph, Ms. Mulherin, who lost her Dáil seat in last month's general election, said: "I am grateful and honoured that the Fine Gael Executive of the Ballina Municipal District and the Fine Gael Constituency Executive have nominated me to receive a nomination to run for the Senate but I am declining to do so on this occasion.
"Seanad Eireann performs a very important legislative function but it is a very different house of parliament to Dáil Éireann in a number of respects, including the fact that senators are elected not by the popular vote and have a different mandate to TDs.
"My interest and passion is representing directly the people of County Mayo and championing issues to bring progress for the county.
"It has been the greatest honour for me to serve as a public representative since 1999 first as a councillor and then as a TD for Mayo for the past five years.
I have had the opportunity to work with some of the best of people in community, business, public service and politics who in turn inspired me to do my very best for the people and the county that I love.
"I want to thank sincerely the 9,593 people who voted for me in the 2016 general election.
"Special thanks to my wonderful campaign team, office staff, all those who helped me in any way, and the many people who have contacted me with their kind messages of support and good wishes.
"It was not to be on this occasion but I live to fight another day. While I am not running for the Seanad I do plan to remain active in politics. I am only on the bench for now but I am not out of the game so to speak."