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Friday 23 March 2018

'Up for the challenge' - Outspoken TD's sister in bid to get spot on FG ticket

Mary Newman. Photo: Damien Eagers
Mary Newman. Photo: Damien Eagers
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

The beginnings of new political dynasty could be born if Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell's sister is successful in her bid to run for the Dáil.

Mary Newman is seeking the party's nomination in Co Tipperary, where Fine Gael has been without a seat since last year's disastrous general election.

The constituency is one of Fine Gael's key targets next time around and five potential candidates, including former junior minister Tom Hayes, have so far declared their interest in running. It's expected that the party will field at least two candidates.

Last night Dublin Bay South TD Ms O'Connell said she was "delighted" her sister is seeking the nomination. She pointed to Ms Newman's 17 years of working as a vet and said she had "huge experience in agriculture and business and has always been immersed in rural life in Ireland". She also pointed out that Fine Gael has no women TDs in Munster and said Ms Newman's election would be "great" from a gender perspective.

Kate O’Connell Photo: Steve Humphreys
Kate O’Connell Photo: Steve Humphreys

Mum-of-four Mary Newman is a resident of the Lagganstown area and has been involved as a parent in a campaign for the provision of school transport to local children who have been refused bus seats this year.

Ms Newman last night said she was "up for the challenge" of potentially fighting for a Dáil seat, saying she believed there was "significant support" for Fine Gael in the constituency.

Names will be put forward at a declaration convention in Thurles next week, but the ultimate decision on who will run won't be made until next year.

Kate O'Connell backed Simon Coveney's leadership bid and famously branded eventual winner Leo Varadkar's supporters as "choirboys" who were "singing for their suppers".

Another sister, Theresa Newman, works as Ms O'Connell's parliamentary assistant. She courted controversy during the leadership campaign in a tweet that suggested Mary Mitchell O'Connor's support for Mr Vardakar was linked to keeping her ministerial brief.

Originally from Co Westmeath, the sisters' father Michael Newman was formerly a Fine Gael county councillor.

Irish Independent

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