Saturday 24 February 2018

Fianna Fail candidate claims she was verbally abused by campaign team of running mate

Lorraine Clifford-Lee at the launch. Photo: Tom Burke
Lorraine Clifford-Lee at the launch. Photo: Tom Burke
Micheál Martin and Darragh O'Brien

Niall O'Connor Political Correspondent

FIANNA Fáil has launched an investigation into claims by a female election candidate that she was verbally abused the campaign team of her own running mate.

Lorraine Clifford-Lee alleges that her supporters were intimidated during an altercation involving the campaign team of party colleague and senator Darragh O’Brien.

Both candidates are running in the Dublin Fingal constituency.

The altercation took place in Portmarnock on Monday night after supporters of both candidates attempted to canvass residents of  the leafy Limetree Avenue.

Ms Clifford-Lee claims that she was described as a “blow-in” by members of Mr O’Brien’s team, who allegedly used foul language during the altercation.

“This is the old-style type politics that we saw in the past. What sort of message does it send out to women looking to get into politics. One of my youngest canvassers is aged just 18 and he no longer wants to canvass after experiencing that,” she said.

There have been tensions between the pair since Ms Clifford-Lee was added to the ticket by party headquarters in order to meet the gender quota targets.

Witnesses to the altercation say members of Mr O’Brien’s team took issue which the fact his rival was canvassing the same estate.

Members of the public are understood to have watched on as both sets of supporters argued on the street.

Mr O’Brien did not respond to calls.

A party spokesperson said: “We have received a number of reports regarding an alleged incident in the Dublin Fingal constituency involving canvass teams from our two candidates in Dublin Fingal. These allegations are being looked into. As far as the party is concerned, we have two excellent candidates in Lorraine Clifford Lee and Darragh O’Brien and we expect both to work together to maximise the party’s vote in Dublin Fingal.”

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