Monday 24 September 2018

'Queen nanny' whose star has been on the rise

Catherine Noone has been praised for her handling of the abortion debate Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Catherine Noone has been praised for her handling of the abortion debate Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Catherine Noone has had a colourful career but her star has been rising mainly due to her widely praised handling of the abortion debate as chair of the Oireachtas committee that examined the divisive issue.

Originally from Co Mayo, Ms Noone (41), a solicitor, fluent Italian speaker, and pilates enthusiast, was first elected to the Seanad in 2011. She was Taoiseach Leo Varadkar's running-mate in Dublin West in 2016. She didn't win a Dáil seat but was returned to the Seanad.

One of the more outspoken senators, Ms Noone has taken up causes like the regulation of ice-cream vans and bringing in 'no-fry-zones' near schools amid rising child obesity. She has also raised concerns about mixed martial arts fights. She is aware of how such campaigns can be portrayed, saying just this week: "I'm queen nanny, according to certain people." She also takes such labels with good humour, last year turning up to accept a 'nanny-in-chief' award from a smokers' rights group.

Some of her contributions to political discourse could be seen as ill-advised, such as her complaint that the GAA hadn't provided her with tickets to the 2016 All-Ireland football final.

Recent comments that ministers shouldn't have lost their State cars also fall into this category. But she has also been a strong advocate for internet safety for children and has spoken out about her own experiences of online trolls.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section