Pressure on FF female candidate to step aside
Published 31/10/2015 | 02:30
Fianna Fáil's General Election nominee in Longford is under pressure to step aside from the ticket over the controversial gender-quota issue that saw her selected.
Connie Gerety-Quinn was selected at a heated convention on Thursday night on foot of a directive from the party's national executive. But the outcome sparked extreme anger among the delegates present.
Ms Gerety-Quinn refused to comment yesterday on her selection, even though she had previously given a commitment not to accept the nomination in the event of being chosen on the basis 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 which saw her selected ahead of rival candidates Cllr Séamus Butler and Pat O'Rourke.
The row has been branded as the "ugly side of gender quotas" by former Fianna Fáil minister Mary O'Rourke.
She said: "How is this democracy? This is the most blatant thing I have ever seen. She went on Shannonside and said she wouldn't have it. How can she go to doors now?"
But a party spokesman told the Irish Independent last night that Ms Gerety-Quinn was the selected candidate in Longford and there would be no change in that position.
For his part, Mr O'Rourke last night railed against the decision, calling it anti-democratic.
"This isn't over. HQ have reneged and turned their back on Longford. Longford Fianna Fáil will exercise their democratic right," he insisted.
He said the local membership would now be appealing to party headquarters to hold a vote and allow them to pick one of the three candidates.
Seán Fleming TD, who chaired the convention, said he "fully understood" the unhappiness of those involved but that more women TDs were needed.
He said: "Historically, we have had strong, capable women in the Dáil and to get back to that we need to have strong women on the ticket.
Mr Fleming said he hoped party bosses would meet with the Longford delegation in order to resolve the row.