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'Some validity' in criticism of Fine Gael Seanad candidates, says Varadkar

The party has 11 female candidates running for election in the Seanad.

Leo Varadkar at the Vital Voices event today in Dublin.
Leo Varadkar at the Vital Voices event today in Dublin.
Image: Sam Boal

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said there is “some validity” in criticism of the number of female Seanad candidates nominated by Fine Gael. 

The party’s national executive met at the end of last month to finalise its list of what are dubbed as “inside” nominations to the Seanad. 

Kate O’Connell, who lost her TD seat in Dublin Bay South in the recent general election, did not receive a nomination. 

Catherine Noone, Gab McFadden, Mary Newman Julian, Maria Byrne and other female party members received outside nominations for Fine Gael. 

An “inside” nomination to the Seanad requires the backing of four TDs or Senators, as explained in TheJournal.ie’s guide to the Seanad elections. 

There are 11 female Fine Gael candidates running for the Seanad. 

“I know there has been some criticism of the candidates Fine Gael has put forward for the Seanad,” Varadkar said today. 

“There is some validity in that criticism but again the truth is a little different to what has been reported. Fine Gael is running 11 women candidates for the Seanad on the two different tracks, with a certain number of seats allocated to each of the tracks. Four on one track, seven on the other,” he said. 

He said the party expects to win 11 or 12 seats in total in the Seanad.

“Quotas are good policy but they don’t automatically translate into electability. The fact that the new Dáil has only one more female than the last is further evidence of this,” Varadkar said. 

The Taoiseach was speaking today at the Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk for International Women’s Day, which is tomorrow.

He said he hoped it “will change” when a new Cabinet is appointed that only 19 women have held Cabinet minister positions in the history of the State. 

Varadkar also said it is “disturbing” that three of seven female TDs in the most recent government lost their seats in last month’s general election, including Regina Doherty and Katherine Zappone. 

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