Monday 24 October 2016

Candidate says colleague wants to 'knock her out' in FG poster war

Stephanie Regan (INM)
Stephanie Regan (INM)

A full-blown row has erupted among Fine Gael's candidates in Dublin Bay North over the erection of posters.

First-time candidate Stephanie Regan has alleged that her colleague Naoise O Muiri is trying to "knock her out".

Ms Regan, a psychotherapist who ran in the local elections in 2014, believes that somebody within her party organised for her posters to be excluded from a batch erected in the Howth and Sutton areas.

In the first 24 hours after the election was called, large areas around the two towns were hit by crews erecting posters of Jobs Minister Richard Bruton and Mr O Muiri.

"I thought 'you can be paranoid about these things'. But if you are putting up Fine Gael posters it should be for the full team.

"I've brought it to the attention of the constituency. It's a strategy and it's clearly not Richard's strategy," she said.


Mr O Muiri denied that he has made any effort to disadvantage Ms Regan, insisting that any postering in the area was arranged by constituency officials.

He said that while his supporters have put some individual posters, the vast majority are being looked after at a constituency level.

"All the posters have been put up centrally. That's a matter for the central organisation," he said.

A spokesman for Richard Bruton declined to comment.

Sources in the constituency said they had no reason to believe that there was any dirty tricks at play.

Tensions among the Fine Gael candidates in Dublin Bay North have been high since the selection convention last May.

A surprise convention win for Ms Regan pushed Mr Bruton off the ticket but party headquarters decided to add the minister.

With two ministers and a series of well-known independents and senators, the constituency is one of the most competitive in the country.

Ms Regan told the Herald that despite being in a so-called 'group of death', she believes people are noticing her work.

"People are aware I've made good inroads in the area. It's a way of trying to knock you out," she said in reference to the posters.

"I have done the work in this area. It's been recognised that I'm the only person on the team to penetrate Howth and Sutton."

She accused Mr O Muiri of trying to "get in on the coat tails of Richard".

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