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FG's 'Natural Woman' hits the ground running for Dail seat

THEY say Bertie Ahern was a quick canvasser and had his workers panting in his wake. They, whoever they are, would want to spend an afternoon with Catherine Yore.

Even in a pair of tartan wellies, the 26-year-old Fine Gael candidate for Meath West was racing along the estates of Navan yesterday.

"You'd need a pair of skates to keep up with Catherine," her friend Roisin said during the wet afternoon's door-knocking and leaflet-dropping.

In her wellies and jeans, the young county councillor looked like she could have walked from the campsites of Oxegen or the Electric Picnic, but she's on much more serious business.

She's drilling her canvassers into line and directing them as to what doors to hit as she campaigns to win a second seat for Fine Gael in the three-seat constituency.

"All she wanted to do was something for young people," her father John, working on the canvass, said of her decision to go into politics. Catherine, a teacher in Julianstown, was elected to Meath County Council in 2009.

And her youth seems to be her main selling point.

"It's my first time running, I don't come from a political dynasty," is something of a mantra as she goes from door to door.

"I think we definitely need change."

One voter in the Beechmount estate recognised Catherine not from her council work, but something else entirely.

"Are you the singer from the talent show a few years ago?" asked Rosaleen Brennan.

"I am."

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"I voted for you."

Even though Catherine competed in the RTE show 'You're a Star', singing 'Natural Woman' by Aretha Franklin, it doesn't seem like something she's keen to dwell on.

"Ah, that was years ago. The first year they did 'You're a Star'," she said.

And she was eager to push Rosaleen on to other subjects, asking if she had questions on FG policy.

"What's the point in asking questions? You hear them going on every night on the television. But you're a woman, you know how to make money go around.

"That Brady fella from Kells thinks he's not getting enough of it," Rosaleen added in reference to Fianna Fail's Johnny Brady, who's looking to retain his Meath West seat -- and claimed that he was no better off as TD than he was as a councillor in the 1970s.

But it's not really Brady's FF vote Catherine Yore is chasing -- it's the vote left behind by the retiring Noel Dempsey.

She reckons that Johnny Brady and FG's Damien English, her political mentor, are both safe. The third seat is up for grabs and she's in the mix with a number of other candidates.

It is her youth that could gain her the vital extra votes, with a number of people saying yesterday that it would make them more likely to vote for her.

"I saw your leaflet, fair play to you. You're not daunted by it, no? I saw your age and I thought to myself, fair play to you," said Regina Corbett as she held her infant son Donal, aged 19 months.

"The reason I'm standing is because of the mass emigration of our generation," Catherine tells another voter.

"We're the generation who have to rebuild this country," she adds later, pointing out that around 10 of her friends are now either in England or Australia.

But despite the undoubted appeal of her youth and eagerness, it could be the simpler connections with voters that see her over the line.

"I voted for her on the show -- it didn't save her," added Rosaleen as Catherine walked from her door.

It might this time.

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