Shay Brennan with Brian?Cowen during the Dublin South by-election last June

SHAY BRENNAN, Fianna Fáil's candidate in last year's Dublin South by-election, has taken redundancy from Anglo Irish Bank and intends to fight for his late father Seamus's Dáil seat, which has been left vacant by George Lee's departure from politics.

Brennan left his job in the nationalised bank last Friday and he intends to throw his hat into the ring for the Fianna Fáil nomination when the by-election is called. He was eager to dispel speculation that he was leaving Anglo for the purpose of contesting the by-election.

"I have taken voluntary redundancy from Anglo Irish Bank. I made the application for the redundancy back in November so the by-election caused by George Lee's departure and my leaving Anglo are completely unconnected. They are two separate things."

Last November, Anglo Irish Bank announced it was seeking 110 voluntary redundancies in Ireland in 2009 and another 110 in 2010.

The cuts will bring the bank's total workforce to around 1,300, a cut of 470 from the nearly 1,800 staff at the bank in September 2008.

Brennan said the working atmosphere at the troubled bank has transformed since the banking collapse.

"Morale is diminished in that institution, as it has in all financial institutions. The role I had been performing was a special treasury one but Anglo has now become more of a deposit-gathering institution in the last year and the challenges weren't there any more," he said.

Brennan decided it was "time I looked to move on... The nature of my job had completely changed. It was not the challenge it was in the past so I am moving on. I have nothing else lined up yet."

Brennan won 9,250 first-preference votes in the Dublin South by-election on 5 June last. George Lee was elected on the first count with a massive 27,768 votes, with Alex White coming a distant second behind Lee with 10,294 votes.

"I would hope to improve on the 18% that I got last time out. I would hope to contest and build on that in the next by-election. Last time was my first election and even though I have been involved in elections and politics all my life with my father, there are elements of a learning curve to standing yourself for the first time.

"You have to stand in an election yourself to fully understand it so I will look forward to the next challenge. I have not spoken to Fianna Fáil headquarters yet so it is still speculative as to whether or not I will stand again.

"Just because the election is off in the distance does not mean I have not been active on the ground since the last campaign. I wasn't expecting a second by-election; that work was more aimed at 2012. So I am glad that I have been doing it with a by-election imminent."

No date has been set for the by-election but it is expected that it will be held on the same day as the Donegal South-West by-election, and perhaps the referendum on the rights of children later in the year.

Social and family affairs minister Mary Hanafin suggested last weekend that the Donegal election would be held "at the back end of the year".