| 17.6°C Dublin

Background: Fornication row TD is no 'holy Joe or fanatic'

Close

Michelle Mulherin with Danson Kole at an election centre a number of years ago

Michelle Mulherin with Danson Kole at an election centre a number of years ago

Michelle Mulherin with Danson Kole at an election centre a number of years ago

MICHELLE Mulherin first hit the headlines when she told the Dail "fornication" was "probably the single most likely cause of unwanted pregnancies in this country".

The first-time TD's archaic remark, which was made during a debate on the divisive X-case legislation, propelled her into the spotlight and led to speculation about her own personal life.

Details of her relationship with Danson Kole (pictured right with Michelle Mulherin) - a Kenyan national who worked on her successful 2011 election campaign - set tongues wagging around the country.

In an interview with the Irish Independent two years ago, Ms Mulherin set the record straight saying Mr Kole had been a "very close friend" since the nineties.

"I don't talk about my personal life but I have no secrets. In relation to relationship with Dan, that is no secret," she said.

"Dan worked on my election campaign and with local organisations. He is very well known in the town. The Taoiseach knows him. The idea that he is a secret or there is something seedy about this is completely wrong. He has never been a secret," she added.

Mr Kole has since moved back to Kenya but Ms Mulherin revealed yesterday he continued to be a "political confidante" after he left Ireland.

The Mayo TD, who speaks French, German and Swahili, has visited Kenya and described the journey as "enriching".

In the wake of the 'fornication' controversy, Ms Mulherin denied she was a "Holy Joe or a fanatic" and said she does not go to Mass every Sunday.

And despite speculation about her support for the controversial Protection to Life during Pregnancy Bill, she voted with the Government two years ago.

The former solicitor was one of four Fine Gael TDs elected in the Taoiseach's constituency at the last general election and marked a historic result for the party.

Irish Independent