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Monday 25 September 2017

Famous faces don't always get vote of confidence

Fiach Kelly, Political Correspondent

FALLEN political star George Lee is just one in a long line of celebrity candidates to represent political parties.

Fine Gael, in particular, has had mixed success recently when it comes to picking candidates with the right combination of name recognition and voter appeal. In last year's European elections, former GAA president Sean Kelly secured a seat for the party in the South constituency.

And FG ran numerous famous names in the last general election in 2007.

Former Meath inter-county star Graham Geraghty ran for the party in Meath West but only managed to secure 3pc of the first preference vote. But Enda Kenny scored a notable victory with current Mayo manager John O'Mahony, who won the third seat in the county in the last general election.

Less successful was O'Brien's sandwich bar founder Brody Sweeney, who fought an expensive and ultimately unsuccessful campaign for Fine Gael in Dublin North East.

MEP Mairead McGuinness, former RTE presenter, did not manage to win a Dail seat in 2007 but held onto her seat in the European Parliament last year. Former Ireland rugby international Jim Glennon stepped down from his position as a Fianna Fail TD for Dublin North in 2007. All-Ireland winning Dubs goalkeeper John O'Leary ran for Fianna Fail in Mr Glennon's place but failed to take a seat.

The now-defunct Progressive Democrats also ran a few famous faces in 2007, but none succeeded.

Acclaimed

In Wexford, Colm O'Gorman, the founder of abuse charity One in Four, ran as a PD candidate. He was acclaimed for his role in exposing the sexual abuse of children by clergy in the Ferns diocese. However, voters gave him just 3pc of their first preferences.

Journalist Orla Guerin was a 'parachute candidate' for Labour in the Dublin constituency for the European elections in 1994 but was beaten by party colleague Bernie Malone.

In 1987, journalist Geraldine Kennedy -- now editor of 'The Irish Times' -- was one of 14 PDs who won a seat. Ms Kennedy lost the Dun Laoghaire seat in 1989.

Irish Independent

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