Bruton 'determined' to win despite shock defeat in local vote
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton is "determined" to win two seats in his constituency despite suffering an embarrassing defeat at his own selection convention in Dublin Bay North.
Despite being a Cabinet Minister, Mr Bruton failed to beat Dublin City Council and former Lord Mayor Naoise O Muiri and party activist Stephanie Regan after Fine Gael headquarters insisted the ticket must consist of a male and female candidate.
A red-faced Mr Bruton was added to the ticket by Fine Gael and the party will now run three candidates in the newly formed five-seat constituency.
Speaking after the vote, Mr Bruton said he was certain the party would win two seats in the constituency.
"My determination has always been to win two seats for Fine Gael in Dublin Bay North in 2016. With Naoise O Muiri and Stephanie Regan now on this really strong three-candidate team, I am more confident that we can convince voters and deliver on that next year," Mr Burton told the Irish Independent.
Sources close to Mr Bruton claimed the membership wanted a three-candidate strategy and voted tactically knowing he would be added to the ticket later.
However, it is also understood Mr Bruton finished behind both candidates and the gender quota did not apply.
Yesterday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny denied Mr Bruton's defeat called into question gender quotas.
"It's happened before, you've had sitting members who were not selected in different conventions over the years," Mr Kenny said.
"It doesn't raise anything about the gender quotas, this is something we believe in very strongly and it's an opportunity for people in the election next spring to elect more female members to the Oireachtas and the Dáil, and that's something I support strongly," he added
Meanwhile, EU Commissioner Phil Hogan defended his plan for a minimum of one-third women candidates - despite the problems these gender quotas are posing for big name male candidates. As Environment Minister, Mr Hogan put through the law that parties will lose funds unless they select a one third quota of woman candidates among their total election nominations.
"I am very much a supporter of greater participation of women in politics. The rules are well established for all of the candidates and parties," he said.
"I think if we are serious about advancing a more balanced slate of candidates and more balanced representation in the Houses of the Oireachtas, well then we have to start somewhere, because over the years it has failed to materialise in a voluntary way from the political parties," Mr Hogan added.
In the June 2010 failed heave against Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, Mr Hogan and Mr Bruton were deadly rivals.
Mr Bruton stood against the leader while Mr Hogan marshalled the successful defence to defeat the heave.
Yesterday, Mr Bruton kept a low profile as the Fine Gael press office insisted that he was not available to media. Despite this he later went canvassing in Kilkenny city for the upcoming by-election on May 22.