FINE Gael’s James Geoghegan has denied claims he is a “posh barrister” as he was last night selected as the party’s candidate for the Dublin Bay South by-election.
He made the comments as he fired back at “personalised attacks” made against him recently.
These included a leaflet sent to Fine Gael Dublin Bay South members featuring a topless photograph of him that he described as “bizarre”.
In a speech to party members last night, Mr Geoghegan said he had read claims he is a “social-conservative, a lobbyist, a posh barrister”.
He said that these claims and “attacks” will not distract him as he runs for election for the seat, left vacant by former minister Eoghan Murphy.
“The Opposition are throwing everything they can at us to win this seat,” he told members
The Dublin City Councillor has four Supreme Court judges and three TDs in his family and was a founding member of the Renua party.
Tonight, he told members that he is “liberal and progressive”.
“I am a person who is liberal and progressive, a father of two small children who cares about helping families, and someone with a strong track-record in public service,” he said
Mr Geoghegan announced last week that he will be putting his name forward for the party nomination and former FG TD in the same constituency, Kate O’Connell, made headlines when she announced that she will not run as some within the party did not want her to.
Tonight, Cllr Geoghegan told members that “it’s time for new voices in Dáil Eireann” and that he will represent the younger generation.
“I want to speak for a generation stuck in a rent trap or living in their parents’ homes,” he added.
He admitted that the party is “in a scrap” to win the seat
Other formal candidates for the by election include Labour’s Ivana Bacik and the Green Party’s Hazel Chu.
Meanwhile, Cllr Geoghegan said that a leaflet sent to Fine Gael Dublin Bay South members featuring a topless photograph of him is “bizarre”.
“A pretty face – but what’s behind the smile?” reads a heading at the top of the leaflet, next to a photograph of the councillor in swimming shorts.
It then lists “things they won’t tell you about James Geoghegan”.
The leaflet states that he is the grandson of a Fianna Fáil minister and asks if the party is letting “the male-driven ultra-Catholic right wing to get a foothold” in the party.
“Other parties are selecting formidable liberal women, so why are we acting like an old boys’ club which is male and stale?” the leaflet adds.
“Inaccurate, bizarre and a good opportunity to utterly refute the nonsense in it,” Mr Geoghegan told the Irish Independent when asked if he is aware of the leaflet.
“I am a social liberal. I voted for the two biggest social changes in our country in both MarRef and Repeal and think our country is all the better for both,” he added.