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Zappone and O'Connell among high-profile women to lose


Kate O’Connell at the vote count

Kate O’Connell at the vote count

Kate O’Connell at the vote count

Independent minister Katherine Zappone and Fine Gael's Kate O'Connell and Catherine Byrne became the latest female TDs to lose their seats in the capital last night.

Ms Zappone, narrowly elected in 2016, failed to take a seat in Dublin South-West.

Speaking as the count continued, she said it was "exceptionally disappointing" that female politicians lost out in this election.

She also praised Mary Lou McDonald, whose party increased its number of women TDs, saying: "I do believe in the importance of the Sinn Fein leader being a woman.

"I still believe in the rise of the young Mna na hEireann, and if not this time then the next time, and that's what we need.

"It's really important that the next time round the voters take note of the importance of ensuring that women do return."


Katherine Zappone

Katherine Zappone

Katherine Zappone

Election 2020 has seen a number of high-profile female TDs lose seats around the country, a trend that was replicated in Dublin.

Others who lost out include former Labour leader Joan Burton, who was a trailblazer for women in politics for three decades.

Her Dublin West rival Ruth Coppinger - a leading campaigner for the referendum to repeal the Eighth Amendment on abortion - also lost her seat in a constituency that elected four men.


Meanwhile, Junior Education Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor lost her seat in Dun Laoghaire.

Kate O'Connell, who was among those at the forefront of Fine Gael's efforts to repeal the Eighth Amendment and has spoken out on problems in the health service, also lost her seat, in Dublin Bay South.

Catherine Byrne, the junior health minister who finally progressed plans for a supervised drug injection centre in Dublin, fell short in Dublin South-Central.

Other prominent women who lost seats around the country included Fine Gael's Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty and Fianna Fail's Brexit spokesperson Lisa Chambers.

Projections last night were that 35 female TDs will be returned, the same number as 2016, despite an extra two Dail seats available.

The boss of the Women for Election organisation, Ciairin de Buis, said: "We are disappointed that the number of women TDs has not risen significantly."

She argued this was "somewhat inevitable" as the larger parties "did not run a balanced ticket".