Tuesday 16 January 2018

I'm nothing like Lucinda, says new FG election rival


THE battle lines have been drawn in Dublin as Fine Gael has unveiled its counter-attack to Renua leader Lucinda Creighton's bid for the general election.

Cllr Kate O'Connell, who was selected alongside sitting TD Eoghan Murphy to run in the general election, said she wants the seat and "doesn't care at whose expense it is".

Ms O'Connell, who has been referred to by political observers as 'Lucinda nua' and 'Lucinda-eile', said she is very much her own person and is not interested in comparisons with the former junior minister.

"I wouldn't see much similarities. I work in the community, I have my own business. I entered politics quite late so I don't see myself like her at all," she told the Herald.


Ms O'Connell is already a mother-of-two but is expecting her third child in September.

"I have another child on the way so my husband will be busy," she quipped.

She said she was delighted to be selected by Fine Gael members in Dublin Bay South "in her own right" and without the need of a party directive to ensure a gender balance on the ticket.

Party headquarters had said that of the two candidates to go forward, at least one had to be a woman. Ms O'Connell was elected without the need for the directive to be applied. She paid tribute to Cllr Kieran Binchy, who she said ran her close for the second spot on the ticket.

Mr Binchy had been nominated by Senator Catherine Noone, who is a long-term friend of Ms Creighton.

The other person to go forward was lawyer Linda O'Shea Farren.

Asked if she thinks she has a realistic chance of taking a seat for Fine Gael, Ms O'Connell said she would not have gone forward without believing so.

"Absolutely, I see there are two seats there. Two seats for Fine Gael. I have to get that seat back for Fine Gael and I don't care at whose expense," she said.

Ms O'Connell, a pharmacist, was elected to Dublin City Council in 2014.

For his part, Mr Murphy as the sitting TD said he has an "open mind" about the prospect of a Fine Gael-Fianna Fail coalition.

Mr Murphy said, apart from Sinn Fein, he would be willing to work with any political party in the Dail.

He said there are "smart people" in Fianna Fail, some of whom he has worked together with on Oireachtas committees.

Speaking at a town hall-style event in Dublin 4 this week, Mr Murphy said that on the current poll standings Fine Gael and the Labour Party will not be able to form a stable government.

"Bar Sinn Fein, I could work with anyone," he said.

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