Shock for Labour Party as Seán Sherlock announces he won’t stand in next General Election

Sean Sherlock pictured with his election team in Mallow Youth Centre during an election count in years past. Photo, S. Murphy.

The communities of Mallow and North Cork were shocked this week to learn of the announcement by Seán Sherlock TD that he will not contest the next General Election. The Mallow deputy has served as a public representative for over two decades, starting on Mallow Town Council and then Cork Co. Council, and then serving as a TD for Cork East during an unbroken spell from 2007. The following is Deputy Sherlock’s statement in full;
“This week I informed the Leader of the Labour Party, Ivana Bacik, my friends, colleagues and members of the Labour Party in Cork East and the parliamentary Labour Party, of my decision not to contest the next General Election.
This has been a difficult decision, and I have made it with a heavy heart. It has been the privilege of my life to serve as a public representative for over 20 years, starting in 2003 as a Town Councillor for Mallow and a Cork County Councillor and then as TD for Cork East since 2007. I am deeply grateful to the people of Cork East for re-electing me in each subsequent election on both good days and bad for the Labour Party. I want to thank all those who supported me, worked so hard for me, and voted for me in each election. It is something I will always appreciate.
My entry to politics followed in the footsteps of my late father, Joe. I am proud to have continued his hard work serving the people of Cork East as a Councillor, TD and Minister of State. I worked on many local and national issues on their behalf, most notably in ensuring the future, beyond any doubt, of Mallow General Hospital as well as ensuring the building of many new schools in my time as Minister of State in the Department of Education.
I was also fortunate to serve as Minister of State in three Departments from 2011-2016 and wish to thank all those I worked with as Minister for Research and Innovation in the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Education and Skills, and Minister for Overseas Development Assistance, Trade Promotion and North-South Co-operation in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. I am particularly proud of the role that I played in the Stormont House Agreements and the role I played as Chair of the Research Council of Ministers which agreed the Horizon 2020 programme of €70 billion during the Irish Presidency of the EU in 2013.
It would be wrong of me to pretend that the recent publication of the Electoral Commission’s Constituency Report 2023 has not influenced my decision. It has. The Commission had a difficult job to do, but the impact on Mallow and Cork East has been profound. I always anticipated some change to our constituency, but the scale of that change is so extensive that it caused me to reflect on my own political future.
I have never been afraid of a political challenge and have fought difficult elections successfully. However, this time I had to weigh up the splintering of the areas I have represented and worked hard for over the last 20 years across two constituencies, and the immense challenge of trying to get elected in an entirely new constituency.
Having considered this with my wife, Máire, my family and my closest political supporters, and as a Dad of three young children, I have decided that the time is now right for me to step aside.
I will always be committed to the Labour Party and to its values and principles, and I know that there are positive days ahead for the party. Labour is needed in Irish politics.
My focus now will be on assisting local election candidates in Cork city and county in their aims to seek election to our local authorities, as well as working with candidates selected to contest the General Election.
The Sherlock family, whether through my late father, Joe, my sister Úna or through my own work, have always sought to serve the people to the best of our ability.
Mallow is my home. It is where I live, where I work, and where I raise my family.
I will continue to represent and play my part to make North and East Cork the best possible place to live and give those without a voice a way to be heard, until my final day in Dáil Éireann.”