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'Gender havoc' in Cork East as daughter of ex-TD to fly home for election

Barbara Ahern, the daughter of ex-Fianna Fáil TD Michael Ahern, is set to be added to the party ticket in Cork East.

Barbara Ahern
Barbara Ahern
Image: LinkedIn

FIANNA FÁIL IS set to add a former TD’s daughter, who is currently working abroad, to its general election ticket in Cork East.

Barbara Ahern, an accountant and tax advisor who has been based in Gibraltar for the last two years, is coming back to Ireland and hopes to be added to the party ticket, according to her father.

Micheal Ahern, a TD for the constituency between 1982 to 2011, told TheJournal.ie that he was expecting a decision from the party’s national constituencies committee within the next two weeks.

“We just have to wait and see whether they will add her or not. I think they will because leaving the southern end of the constituency, with a population of 47,000, without a candidate wouldn’t be wise,” he said.

Another party source indicated it was almost certain that Barbara Ahern would be added.

Fianna Fáil members in the constituency have already selected councillor Kevin O’Keeffe, the son of former junior minister Ned O’Keeffe, to run in the four-seat constituency.

1399717_619971398078586_3676264846557166184_o Kevin O'Keeffe Source: Facebook

Councillor O’Keeffe said that he was aware of the speculation about the daughter of Michael Ahern being added. He admitted he was at the mercy of party headquarters but expressed doubts about Fianna Fáil pursuing a two-candidate strategy.

I felt one candidate would be enough. I think I have the profile to cover the constituency.

Youghal-based councillor Aaron O’Sullivan had been touted as a possible addition to the ticket, but he is understood to no longer be interested. O’Sullivan did not return a request for comment.

O’Keeffe said that the “gender issue is playing havoc” with Fianna Fáil needing to ensure a third of all its Dáil election candidates are female in order to avoid a cut in state funding.

“That’s about money. Politics is being hindered by this because parties will be penalised if they don’t have a proper gender balance,” he said. 

michael-ahern-1 Michael Ahern unsuccessfully ran for Cork county council in last year's local elections Source: Irish Election Literature

Michael Ahern said his daughter was coming home to Ireland irrespective of whether or not she is added to the ticket, having spent two years working with KPMG in Gibraltar. He continued:

That time is up anyhow so she is going back whether there is an election or no election. She has other jobs that’s she has been offered and she’s going to pick one of those in due course, if she’s not elected.

Ahern said that his daughter’s experience in politics dated all the way back to childhood, saying she was “born into it” and had worked in the constituency from an early age.

“She was listening to people on the phone and making representations as well. So, she knows exactly what it’s like. She spent nine months working in the Dáil… she’s very well immersed in it,” he added.

Read: Confusion as Conor Lenihan mistakenly believed he’d secured Fianna Fáil nomination

‘A complete joke’: People aren’t happy that Mary Hanafin has been added in Dún Laoghaire

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Hugh O'Connell

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