Renua party denies that it is running 'phantom candidates'
Renua has denied running so-called "phantom candidates" after it emerged two of the party's election hopefuls failed to erect a single poster during the campaign.
Kildare South candidate Mary Kennedy and Meath East candidate Sarah Tyrrell, who both work for the party, have also admitted never living in their respective constituencies.
The pair were added to the ticket just days before the deadline closed in a move that assisted Renua in its bid to meet the gender quota targets.
Renua leader Lucinda Creighton, whose own seat in Dublin Bay South is at risk, previously said the party aspired to running a candidate in every constituency.
But in the end, the party ended up fielding 26 candidates, eight of whom are female.
Last night, both Ms Kennedy and Ms Tyrrell cited the level of financial cost involved as the reason behind their decision not to erect posters.
"I don't have 30 grand. I'm 26 and didn't have the money to put behind it," Ms Tyrrell told the Irish Independent.
"I've heard of lot of talk that I only ran because of the gender quotas and, to be honest, I find that really offensive.
"I don't agree with the gender quotas and I don't believe I was added because of that. If that was the case, I would have walked."
Ms Tyrrell said she had canvassed heavily in the constituency over the past three weeks and that she had also appeared in the local and national media to promote her campaign. She said she was from Louth and did not live in the constituency.
Similarly, Ms Kennedy said she lived in Kildare North but not far from the border with the constituency she was running in.
"I came to the game late but I have canvassed a number of areas that are known to me," she said. She added that she did not accept she was a "phantom candidate".
Renua would not say last night how many other candidates had not erected posters.
"That is a matter best addressed to candidates who devise and fund their own campaign strategies. You are welcome to call our 26 candidates and seek their views on this," a spokesman said.
The spokesman also denied the suggestion that the party was running 'phantom candidates'.
"No, we do not. Both candidates are committed party activists who have been with Renua since it set up.
"Sarah Tyrrell is a hard-working single mother who has been a hugely dedicated activist for the party. Mary Kennedy is a high-profile businesswoman who has also played a key and valued role in the development of Renua.
"They are far better known within Renua, I suspect, than many of the candidates that other parties are running."
Meanwhile, Ms Creighton yesterday wrote to constituents in Dublin Bay South claiming she s in a battle for the last seat in the constituency with Sinn Féin candidate Chris Andrews.
In the letter, Ms Creighton urged votes to give her a number one preference to ensure she can continue to represent them rather than Mr Andrews.
"Various polls suggest I am in a direct battle with Sinn Féin for the last seat in the constituency," she said.
"I am asking for your No 1 on Friday February 26, so that I, and not Sinn Féin can continue to represent your interests and your areas."
The five-seat constituency will be one of the most closely watched when vote counting begins tomorrow.