When strong political women are so few, the parties that let them go are the real losers
I was shocked by Averil Power's announcement this week. As part of Fianna Fáil since her teens she has always been clear and upfront about her reasons for being a member - and staying a member - of that party. Her own working class background and experience as the first in her family to access third level drew her to Fianna Fáil, the party she credits with championing education and seeking to create an Ireland where everyone has a fair start in life, regardless of how much money they have.
In 2009, when many former up-and-coming Fianna Fáilers ran for the hills and airbrushed their political association from their CVs, Averil fought the local elections for the party, building a strong team and listening - night after night, day after day - on doorsteps as people vented their anger for the destruction wrought on the country, and told their own, personal, tales of woe.
Averil defended the party, her own commitment to it, and its potential to turn around, renew, and again contribute to making Ireland a better place.