Tuesday 23 January 2018

FG deputy attacks Taoiseach over 'jobs for boys'

Kate O'Connell of Fine Gael Photo: Tom Burke
Kate O'Connell of Fine Gael Photo: Tom Burke
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

A first-time Fine Gael TD has accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of putting "the final nail in the female coffin" with his nominations to the Seanad.

Kate O'Connell has launched a blistering attack on her party leader's ministerial and Seanad choices, saying that they represent "plenty of jobs for the boys".

She told the Irish Independent she was "absolutely shocked" by the lack of women promoted by Mr Kenny in recent weeks, describing the fact that just three out of 18 junior ministers are female as "outrageous".

"I would have thought 30pc would have been the minimum. I could reconcile with the fact that his hands were a bit tied with the senior ministers, then I thought, 'Ok he'll promote three women to junior ministries'. Then when I saw the Seanad, I thought, 'Jesus'. He could have addressed the difference there. It was in his gift," she said.

Mr Kenny gave three of his 11 Seanad nominations to Fianna Fáil and then appointed six men and two women.

"We have the highest number of women in the Dáil ever and we have a pitiful representation in there. It's the final nail in the female coffin.

"He could have gotten away with appointing eight women. There are plenty of Fine Gael women that are potential candidates for the future or that were candidates in the past," she said.

Asked why she was publicly criticising the party hierarchy now, she said she never expected to get a top job, but feels strongly about the issue.

"I don't have any fear of a slap-down from anyone. It would be disingenuous for me not to speak out."

Irish Independent

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