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Tuesday 20 March 2018

Rat Pack singer wants FG nomination for Dublin poll

Liam Collins

Liam Collins

Rat pack singer Jason O'Callaghan has declared that he will put himself before the Fine Gael convention for selection in one of Dublin's toughest political constituencies.

The wedding singer and former gossip columnist will be seeking a nomination from the party for the volatile Dublin South Central area and intends to go from 'behind the velvet rope' to the 'corridors of power' in one extraordinary leap.

"I'm no George Lee, I don't have a job waiting for me, so failure isn't an option," declared the one-time celebrity spotter-turned-psychology student last week.

"I am doing it because I come from the area and I am going to work for the area if I get a nomination."

Mr O'Callaghan has already laid it on the line for Fine Gael bigwigs.

At a fund-raising breakfast in the Shelbourne Hotel last week, attended by party leader Enda Kenny and former party head John Bruton, Mr O'Callaghan used a public question-and-answer forum to ask Mr Bruton what advice he had for aspiring candidates at the next election.

"I wish the other candidate well," was the reply from the top table, who obviously appreciated Mr O'Callaghan's 'can-do' attitude to politics.

"My grandfather Ted Chute was a Fine Gael councillor in Tralee, I come from Walkinstown and I went to college in the constituency, and with my media and entertainment background I think I have a very good chance" said Mr O'Callaghan. "Other people can sit on the fence, but at least I'm prepared to try."

He also believes that international figures like Michael O'Leary of Ryanair and financier Dermot Desmond have a "national responsibility" to get involved in re-building the Irish economy from the inside, rather than the outside.

Mr O'Callaghan has been involved in the Dublin South East constituency for Fine Gael and is now moving across to South Central. He said his campaign team includes energetic young people like barrister Gareth Robertson.

"Singing with the Rat Pack is a hobby, a lucrative hobby, but my goal is to become a psychologist. I'm currently working as a research assistant in Tallaght Hospital as part of my training and doing my thesis with the cancer support group ARC on 'Group Humour Therapy'."

O'Callaghan's plans to 'humour' the Fine Gael cumann of Dublin South Central began with a phone call to sitting Fine Gael TD Catherine Byrne. He declined to reveal what the reaction was.

But the Dublin city five-seater constituency will certainly prove interesting.

The Labour TD Mary Upton is standing down and according to political expert John Drennan (based on recent opinion polls) Fianna Fail TDs Sean Ardagh and Michael Mulcahy and low-polling Sinn Feiner Aengus O'Snodaigh will all be fighting for their seats.

The entry of a Rat Pack singer could well tilt the constituency's balance of power.

Sunday Independent

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