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Tuesday 23 January 2018

Davis admits she is disappointed -- but not disheartened -- with result

Michael Brennan

Mary Davis last night admitted she was disappointed with the result of the election.

"But I'm not discouraged or disheartened. And I'm proud of the fact that I entered the race and was a candidate," she said.

Ms Davis was expected to be able to draw support on the basis of her record in bringing the Special Olympics to Ireland in 2003 -- a stunning success that boosted the profile of people with disabilities.

Last night, she blamed the controversy over her membership of 23 boards over the past decade for taking away the early momentum of her campaign.

"I went through a challenging time at a very critical time in the campaign and that took a couple of weeks coming out of that, and into a situation where there were two clear candidates at the top," she said.

After repeated questions about how much she had earned, she published figures showing she had received €390,632 in fees from sitting on three state and three commercial boards. She said the vast majority of the remainder were voluntary.

And she blamed Fine Gael for a "dirty tricks" campaign against her -- although the party denied reports that it had hired market researchers to test negative messages such as 'Quango Queen' against her.

But although Ms Davis fought back, each successive opinion poll showed that support for her was falling. And, the ideas she put forward failed to capture the public's imagination.

She came up with the idea of renaming Aras an Uachtarain 'Aras na nDaoine'. Another was to put a member of the Irish diaspora and a person with intellectual disabilities on to the Council of State.

Ms Davis had a capable team around her, including Suzanne Coogan, the former special adviser to ex-minister Willie O'Dea.

Ms Davis said she was now going to take a rest before going back to her job as head of Special Olympics Europe.

Irish Independent

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