Fianna Fáil loses two of its female election candidates
Fianna Fáil is insisting that it will still reach the 30pc gender quota for the General Election, despite the loss of two female candidates in recent days.
In Laois, Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald, who had been chosen to contest the election alongside sitting TD Seán Fleming, has withdrawn her candidacy.
And in Co Clare a running mate of the party's Transport spokesman Timmy Dooley, Cllr Clare Colleran Molloy (pictured inset) has decided to turn down the party's offer of a place on the ticket.
Ms Fitzgerald's decision not to contest the election has sparked speculation that former Junior Minister John Maloney could take her spot on the ticket.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Fleming said Ms Fitzgerald took the decision to withdraw to concentrate on her role as council chairperson and said he understood and respected her decision.
As for Mr Maloney, who has been named as director of elections, Mr Fleming said he would not make any comment on whether Mr Maloney should or shouldn't be added to the ticket. "If he is added, so be it, I will work with anyone," he said.
Mrs Colleran Molloy said the decision to decline the party's offer of a place on the ticket was not an easy one.
"I was asked by Fianna Fáil HQ to let my name go forward and I thought long and hard about it. However, over eight weeks had passed since the Fianna Fáil convention and in that time I had made a number of work and political commitments, which I felt I could not turn my back on," she said.
Party figures said the withdrawals were disappointing.