Sunday 28 December 2014

Lucinda Creighton’s woes - FG's golden girl and male bias

Tom Parlon questions the new party ambition of mother-to-be

Niamh Horan and Fionnan Sheahan

Published 19/01/2014 | 02:30

Kate O'Connell, Fine Gael candidate for the 2014 local elections. Photo: Tony Gavin
Kate O'Connell, Fine Gael candidate for the 2014 local elections. Photo: Tony Gavin
Kate O'Connell who is a new Fine Gael candidate in Dublin. Picture by David Conachy

Pharmacist Kate O'Connell is Fine Gael's new golden girl. She is currently the party hierarchy's choice to compete for Lucinda Creighton's seat in Dublin South-East and to stymie the Reform Alliance TD's ambitions.

But to judge by remarks made by Tom Parlon, the path of a woman in Irish politics is not a simple one.

The former PD minister has suggested that Ms Creighton's having a baby will limit her capacity to set up a new party for the time being. Indeed, Ms O'Connell and Ms Creighton would likely find themselves in agreement on one topic -- the attitudes of male politicians.

Reflecting on next week's Reform Alliance meeting, Mr Parlon said: "My own gut feeling is that there isn't going to be a new party and I don't think that Ms Creighton has that sort of ambition," he said.

When asked what he considered to be Ms Creighton's biggest obstacle he replied: "I don't know whether Lucinda is leading it [the new party] or not but I understand that she's announced she's expecting a baby and she's newly married and there's life outside politics.

"Look, it's widely known she is pregnant and she is newly married and she might think I gave it my best shot, whatever, but life has to go on. She would find lots of well-paid employment outside of politics if she was to do that."

Ms Creighton's' response was predictably robust.

She said: "I think his comments are from a different century.

"I think they are completely out of touch with the 21st Century and out of touch with what women can and can't achieve -- whether they are married or not, or having children or not.

"Knowing Tom, and I don't think the comments were malicious, but I do think he needs to seriously reflect on his comments.

"I can assure you that being a woman has never affected anything I can or can't do in politics. or in any other area of my life for that matter."

Ms O'Connell and Ms Creighton were born just three weeks apart and Ms Creighton celebrates her 34th birthday tomorrow.

Ms O'Connell is one of three local election candidates along with Samantha Long and Dr Paddy Smyth who the party regard as potential general election ticket material for 2016.

"We are making every effort to get people elected to replace her [Ms Creighton].

"We are going to help them in every way and resource them," a senior party source told the Sunday Independent.

Ms Creighton hosts the Reform Alliance 'Monster Rally' in the RDS next weekend.

But the list of high profile figures who will not be attending the meeting continues to grow.

Mattie McGrath is the only independent TD considering going along next Saturday.

Independents are blaming the Reform Alliance's efforts to "stampede" people into attending the event for the no shows.

The party is targeting the local elections as a breeding ground for candidates to take on the TDs who left over the abortion legislation

Irish Independent

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