Why Nichola wants to step into Olwyn Enright's shoes

Kevin Doyle

IS this the new Olwyn Enright? A previously unknown councillor has emerged as the possible replacement for the retiring Fine Gael TD.

Cllr Nichola Hogan (29) has revealed to the Herald that she will be seeking a nomination for the Fine Gael ticket in Taoiseach Brian Cowen's constituency at the next election.

The Offaly barrister believes that she is the ideal candidate to replace Olwyn, now expecting her second child.

"It was something I'd seen further down the line," she said. But she says that following Ms Enright's unexpected decision to step down "the constituency has totally changed".

"I've given it a lot of thought since Deputy Enright announced that she would not be seeking re-election and having consulted with local Fine Gael members, I have decided to seek the nomination," she explained.


Ms Enright's decision reignited the debate about the difficulties for women in Irish politics -- but Ms Hogan says she wants another woman to slot into Olwyn's place.

"I do feel it's important that Laois/Offaly would continue to have a female TD.

"I do believe that all constituencies should have female candidates selected by the party."

Cllr Hogan was elected to Offaly County Council on her first attempt in the 2009 with 6pc of the vote in the Edenderry area.

The Herald previously revealed that ex-PD minister Tom Parlon was refusing to rule out a return to politics.

And local sources say that former hurling All Star Brian Whelahan may consider entering the race.

Mr Parlon served as a Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works under Bertie Ahern and Mary Harney before losing out to Fine Gael's Charlie Flanagan in the 2007 election.

Prior to his election for the PDs, Mr Parlon had been approached by Fine Gael about possibly running for that party.

He has said that he will "think about" the possibility of another attempt at entering the Dail.

And Mr Whelahan ran for Fine Gael in the local elections but failed to win a seat.

According to Cllr Hogan a date has yet to be set for Fine Gael's selection convention in Laois/Offaly but she hopes it will be soon so that candidates can get their names known. "I honestly believe members will choose the candidate on merit," she said.