Saturday 22 October 2016

Pressure on FF election nominee to step aside in gender quota row

Fianna Fail's general election nominee in Longford is under pressure to step aside over the controversial gender-quota row that saw her selected.

Connie Gerety-Quinn was chosen at a heated convention on Thursday night after a directive from the party's national executive, to the anger of delegates.

She refused to comment yesterday on her selection, even though she previously said she would not accept the nomination if she were chosen because of the 30pc gender rule.

Speaking to Shannonside Radio in August, Ms Gerety-Quinn said: "I am making it very clear that I am not going to go on the gender ticket. I would not, I could not. I have more respect for myself and, indeed, for my colleagues."

There have been calls for Ms Gerety-Quinn to step aside from the ticket, given the row that saw her selected ahead of rival candidates Seamus Butler and Pat O'Rourke.

The row has been branded the "ugly side of gender quotas" by former Fianna Fail minister Mary O'Rourke.

"How is this democracy? This is the most blatant thing I have ever seen. She went on Shannon- side and said she wouldn't have it. How can she go to doors now?" Mrs O'Rourke said.


A party spokesman said last night that Ms Gerety-Quinn is the selected candidate and there will be no change in that position.

For his part, Pat O'Rourke railed against the decision, calling it "anti-democratic".

"HQ have reneged and turned their back on Longford. Longford Fianna Fail will exercise their democratic right," he said.

"I believe in the coming days they will have an opportunity to consider three candidates and they will have a democratic process."

He said the local membership would now be appealing to party HQ to hold a vote and allow them to pick one of the three.

Sean Fleming TD, who chaired the convention, said he "fully understood" the unhappiness of those involved, but was unapologetic that the party has no women TDs.

"Historically, we have had strong, capable women in the Dail, and to get back to that we need to have strong women on the ticket," he said. "The directive was issued and I told the meeting of that. I understand the upset, but we need more women in the Dail."

Mr Fleming said he hoped party bosses would meet with the Longford delegation to resolve the row.

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