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Former TD and minister Liz O'Donnell opens up about 'public humiliation' of losing Dail seat


Liz O'Donnell

Liz O'Donnell

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Liz O'Donnell

Former TD and junior minister Liz O’Donnell has spoken of her “public humiliation” when she lost her Dail seat.

She said it signalled the arrival of an “unknown period” in her life.

Ms O'Donnell lost the seat she had held for15 years in the 2007 general election.

Following what was a major personal setback, the former deputy leader of the now defunct Progressive Democrats, said she felt like hiding away from the public.

“It’s awful, and you can’t really prepare for it. But you just have to put on your glad rags and go out,” she said.

“My father always taught us to be good losers and go out and shake hands with your opponents.

“I really felt like going under the duvet. It wasn’t just the loss of my own seat, but all my colleagues had lost their seats as well.

At the time she didn't know what the future held for the party or for herself.

Speaking on the Late Late Show, she also recalled how she struggled to contain her emotions, while giving a television interview from the count centre on the night of her defeat.

“Even though I felt like crying I had to do a live interview on the Nine O'Clock News with Brian Dobson. I was biting my lip, thinking don’t cry now, cry later.”

She was “warbling on” when she was asked to comment on the end of the party and the loss of her seat.

“I was trying to think what I could say that’s positive.

“All I could think of was that it had been a privilege to be a minister, and it had been a privilege to be responsible for the Irish aid programme.”

Ms O'Donnell who represented the Dublin South constituency was closely involved at a crucial phase in the Northern Ireland peace talks.

Since leaving mainstream politics she has been involved in media work and public affairs consultancy.

Just over two months ago she was appointed chairperson of the Road Safety Authority.

She said she was delighted to accept this role, which offered her an opportunity to pursue her life long commitment to public service. 

Online Editors