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O'Dowd snubbed for Leas-Cheann Comhairle post

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Deputy O’Dowd

Deputy O’Dowd

Deputy O’Dowd

Louth TD Fergus O'Dowd says he is very disappointed that he wasn't elected Leas-Cheann Comhairle last week in a shocking surprise defeat for the Fine Gael deputy.

Galway West Independent TD Catherine Connolly defeated her rival candidate in a close 77 to 74 votes result from a secret ballot.

The Drogheda man had been hotly tipped to take the position, and it is an apparent snub for the chair of the Oireachtas Transport Committee, who has been a TD since 2002.

'I am very disappointed, but the facts are the facts and I have moved on now,' Deputy O'Dowd told the Drogheda Independent. 'I am very good friends with Deputy Connolly and of course I wish her well in the position.'

71-year old O'Dowd was the favourite to take the position, but it's thought at least 10 Fianna Fáil TDs voted against him.

The position usually goes to the Opposition but the Fine Gael TD had the backing of all three Coalition parties.

Speaking of the outcome of the result, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he is 'disappointed for Fergus because I supported him'.

'It's a secret ballot and one of the reasons why the reforms came into parliament in terms of secret ballot, is political scientists are of a view and we accepted, is it speaks to the autonomy of the parliament in terms of the Ceann Comhairle and Leas-Ceann Comhairle'' he said.

'But I can't speculate any further than that… and I think it's parliament taking its decision. I'm disappointed for Fergus, he's a very experienced parliamentarian. I wish Catherine the very best.'

Drogheda Independent