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Wednesday 27 September 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# soc dems
The woman who famously challenged Seán Gallagher is running for the Dáil
As is a former Labour councillor who is very critical of his old party.

Picture-528 RTÉ.ie Glenna Lynch on THAT Prime Time debate four years ago RTÉ.ie

Updated: 11.36am

GLENNA LYNCH, THE businesswoman who famously challenged the business ethics of presidential candidate Seán Gallagher four years ago, is to run for the Dáil.

Lynch has been recruited by the Social Democrats to run in the four-seat Dublin Bay South constituency.

The party has also confirmed that former Labour councillor Cian O’Callaghan will run in the five-seat Dublin Bay North constituency. The Soc Dems have now picked 10 candidates to run in the general election.

Lynch is an interior designer who is based in Stillorgan. She came to prominence four years ago during the infamous ‘tweetgate’ incident during the final presidential debate on RTÉ’s Prime Time.

Appearing as a member of the audience, she questioned the business acumen and past dealings of Gallagher, who was then leading the polls in the final days of an eventful presidential campaign.

Sean-Gallagher-RTE-FL RTÉ.ie Seán Gallagher RTÉ.ie

The exchange was later followed by Martin McGuinness’s infamous ‘envelope’ accusation and presenter Pat Kenny’s reading out of a false tweet from a bogus Sinn Féin account.

Gallagher then went on RTÉ’s Today programme the following day and questioned whether Lynch was a political plant, something she then denied after she phoned into the programme. Lynch insisted she had never been a member of a political party.

The incident is widely thought to have torpedoed Gallagher’s chances of winning the Áras and paved the way for Micheal D Higgins’s election a few days later.

In the years since, Lynch has been involved with several political campaigns including Democracy Matters, which campaigned to save the Seanad.

She was a substitute candidate for the independent MEP Nessa Childers during last year’s European elections and, until recently, Lynch was involved in the Independent Alliance.

Tea with Ross

Speaking today, Lynch said she chose not to move forward with the alliance as it didn’t have clear policies.

I had coffee with Shane Ross I’d say maybe 15 times over the last year … all the time that he was preparing to launch the Independent Alliance.

Lynch said she came away from the group’s think-in Tullaghmore “not really understanding what it wanted to be”.

“They probably had to avoid policy to try to hold together a loose alliance of independent.”

She added that there is a “huge opportunity for change” at the next election.

“Most of us went out in 2011 and we voted for change but in actual fact it’s clear that that change will never come from the old, worn-out parties.”

File Pics High-profile Fingal county councillor Cian O Callaghan has announced that he is resigning from the Labour Party over its unfair and unjust policies in government. Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland Cian O'Callaghan Mark Stedman / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Meanwhile, O’Callaghan is a former mayor of Fingal County Council who resigned from the Labour party in July 2013, accusing the party of lacking a backbone in government.

O’Callaghan said he stands over what he said about his former party and, if anything, is more critical of Labour now.

He noted that Dublin Bay North is “probably the most competitive constituency in the country” but said he is “very much looking forward to the contest”.

Both candidates join a growing list of Social Democrat candidates running for the Dáil at the next general election.

Earlier this month, the new party unveiled several candidates who will run in constituencies across the country, including the former Labour senator James Heffernan.

Women candidates

The Social Democrats polled at 1% in today’s Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.

Joint-party leader Catherine Murphy said she’s not disappointed by this result as the party is only nine weeks old, adding it is “all the more reason why we just plough ahead and keep introducing candidates, organising events and developing policy positions”.

Fellow joint leaders Róisín Shortall, a former Labour junior minister, and Stephen Donnelly were also at the launch.

Donnelly said that the party as found it to be “as easy or difficult” to find female candidates as it has been to find men.

“Turns out there’s a lot of women in politics in Ireland. It’s an amazing thing to watch the established political parties say “can’t get women, can’t get women’ and (when they were told) ‘Well, we’ll cut your finding’ they say ‘Oh, we’ve found them!” What a surprise.”

- with reporting by Órla Ryan

Read: Labour senator turned Soc Dem takes aim at ‘cynical’ Leinster House

Read: ‘We’ve a new Troika in town’: Joan doesn’t think much of the new party

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