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Sunday 19 November 2017

Pregnant Olwyn will not return to frontline

Aine Kerr Political Correspondent

FINE Gael's Olwyn Enright has ruled herself out of any return to Enda Kenny's frontbench team after announcing she is pregnant with her second child.

The Laois-Offaly TD, who was one of the 11 frontbenchers who led the heave against the Fine Gael leader, advised Mr Kenny she would not be able to fully commit to a portfolio if he decided to pick her again.

Instead, she plans to concentrate on her Dail and constituency work and spend more time with her family.

The Fine Gael welfare spokeswoman is married to the party's Donegal South-West TD, Joe McHugh, and gave birth to their first child Darragh in November.

The political couple got married in 2005, having met while Mr McHugh was a senator for the party and Ms Enright was a first-time TD, having won in the election in 2002.

"I approached Enda last week. I didn't want to be presumptuous about any decision he might make but I wanted, out of respect for him and the party, to let him know," Ms Enright told the Irish Independent.

"I was going to have to make him aware anyway that I was going to be out for a while . . . but I just didn't feel I would be able to fully commit to the frontbench at the moment as a mother of two young children."

Ms Enright, who is the daughter of long-serving Laois-Offaly TD and Senator Tom Enright, said she also wanted to fully concentrate on her Dail and constituency work.

In 2002, Ms Enright was elected to the Dail and went on to become the party's education spokeswoman with the job of shadowing the then-Education Minister Mary Hanafin.

After the 2007 election, she was moved to the social welfare portfolio, where she again shadowed Ms Hanafin.

Ahead of yesterday's frontbench announcement, it had been speculated that Ms Enright would return to the frontbench ahead of her constituency colleague and justice spokesman Charlie Flanagan.

She would also have ensured that Mr Kenny could show gender balance in his frontbench line-up.

Irish Independent

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