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'That's life' - Kate fails to make cut for Seanad

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Kate O’Connell is comforted by her husband Morgan after losing her seat

Kate O’Connell is comforted by her husband Morgan after losing her seat

Kate O’Connell is comforted by her husband Morgan after losing her seat

Former Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell has insisted she bears "no ill feeling" toward Taoiseach Leo Varadkar after his controversial decision not to select her for the Seanad election.

Ms O'Connell said she had a "very good relationship" with Mr Varadkar and added she did not believe he was "vindictive".

However, she also said "no amount of boyos messing in the background" would stop her being dedicated to Fine Gael and insisted her career had been "interrupted rather than stopped".

She confirmed senior party figures asked her to put her name forward for the Seanad, before deciding not to select her for the elections taking placing today.

She was the only outgoing TD who lost their seat in the general election not selected to contest the election.

Speaking to Brendan O'Connor on RTE Radio One, Ms O'Connell said she had "no idea" why she was not selected, but said she was told there were not enough places and she "didn't make the cut".

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Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar

Vindictive

"I don't want to divulge personal conversations but it was made very clear to me that they wanted me to put my name forward and it was assumed therefore I would be selected, but I wasn't and that's life," she said.

"Its fine blaming Leo Varadkar and whoever else but I lost my seat and the people of my constituency didn't vote for me.

"I have always had a very good relationship with the Taoiseach and I wouldn't see him as being vindictive or even thinking in the way it was reported in the newspaper. There is no ill feeling there."

Ms O'Connell, who has returned to working in her pharmacy during the Covid-19 crisis, said she did not believe her political career was over.

"A desire for public service and a desire for politics doesn't end with the loss of a seat in a general election," she said.

"My family have been involved in Fine Gael since the 1960s. I will remain a proud Fine Gael member and work for the party as I always have."

Ms O'Connell was also critical of the lack of women in politics.

"I think we are blind to it. We are just used to seeing so many men," she said.

"I always remember the picture of the junior ministers' line-up when Leo became Taoiseach and there was Catherine Byrne and Helen McEntee and then there was just men.

"There is an issue in politics in general that it is top heavy with men. I think Fine Gael as a party has actually done more than any other party.

"It's just none of us are doing enough."


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