| 6.3°C Dublin

Varadkar's fresh snub of ex-TD O'Connell for Seanad

Close

Overlooked: Kate O’Connell was a critic of Leo Varadkar. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Overlooked: Kate O’Connell was a critic of Leo Varadkar. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Overlooked: Kate O’Connell was a critic of Leo Varadkar. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has snubbed former Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell for a second time for a run for the Seanad.

Ms O'Connell was surprisingly excluded by Mr Varadkar when he picked Fine Gael's Seanad candidates. The Taoiseach had a second chance to put the former Dublin Bay South TD on the ticket, but did not.

Ms O'Connell was an outspoken critic of Mr Varadkar during the Fine Gael leadership battle as she backed Simon Coveney.

Mr Varadkar had to add another Seanad candidate at the last minute this week as there was a shortage which had to be filled.

Ms O'Connell was interested in running on the Labour Panel, where the vacancy arose, but Mr Varadkar chose instead to run little-known councillor Mary Seery-Kearney.

Fine Gael sources said Ms Seery-Kearney was a potential successor to former minister Catherine Byrne in the Dublin South-Central constituency. However, other party sources said Ms O'Connell's exclusion was a sign of the enmity between her and Mr Varadkar.

An Oireachtas spokesperson said those nominated by the Taoiseach due to a shortage in numbers were "subject to the same qualification requirements as any other candidate".

Separately, a Sinn Féin Cork councillor, Paul Hayes, was rejected as a candidate for the Agriculture Panel after it was decided he was not qualified "due to a lack of knowledge and practical experience".

He had been nominated by the Irish South and West Fish Producers Organisation (ISWFPO).

Mr Hayes, who works for a coffee firm, said he had engaged with the fishing and farming communities for years. He said the ISWFPO were "experts in their field and they're happy to nominate me".

ISWFPO chief executive Patrick Murphy claimed the rejection of its nominee shows "democracy is broken".

An Oireachtas spokesperson said a High Court judge had made the decision.

Irish Independent