A YOUNG man who had hoped to be the first Traveller to be elected to Cork City Council has withdrawn from the election.
TJ Hogan from Farranree has pulled out of the race for the Cork North West ward for personal reasons.
The 24-year-old had planned to launch his candidacy officially last week but now said he will not be going forward on polling day on May 24.
On his campaign Facebook page, he said withdrawing from the race was "one of the hardest things" he has ever had to do and he apologised to those who may feel let down that he is not running.
He said he cannot express the support and encouragement that he received after announcing his decision to run, in the Evening Echo, in December.
He pledged to continue to work tirelessly "towards improving this city".
He also said he would be refunding any money lodged to a GoFund Me campaign to raise election funds.
He added that the support and encouragement he received "means more than you will ever know".
He is a married father of one and is a graduate of Cork Institute of Technology. He holds a degree in community development. Plans for further education have been put on hold until after the election. He plans to do a Masters in Social Policy.
In 2016, he received a National Traveller Pride award for his educational achievements. He had gone through primary and secondary level education with undiagnosed dyslexia, which was diagnosed when he was in first year at CIT.
He is currently the accommodation policy officer with the Irish Traveller Movement and was one of the speakers at the recent homelessness protest in Dublin, organised by the National Homeless and Housing Coalition.
He is among just 1% of 40,000 Irish Travellers who has a third level education.