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Former TD to contact gardaí after false text circulates ahead of Dublin Bay South by-election

A message claiming to be from a former Fine Gael TD tells recipients to vote for five female candidates.

Kate O'Connell in 2019
Kate O'Connell in 2019
Image: Niall Carson/PA Images

A TEXT MESSAGE falsely attributed to a former Fine Gael TD is telling constituents in Dublin Bay South to vote for candidates from other parties.

The text, which claims to have been sent by former TD Kate O’Connell, asks voters to give their first preference to Labour candidate Ivana Bacik.

O’Connell has said she intends to contact An Garda Síochána over the message.

“I have become aware in the last hour of a fake message circulating to people, alleging to be from me, or from someone to do with me,” O’Connell said.

She said she was “shocked and disturbed” by the message.

Tweet by @Kate O'Connell Source: Kate O'Connell/Twitter

O’Connell was elected as a TD for Dublin Bay South in 2016, but lost her seat in 2020.

The message, seen by The Journal, is addressed to “members of Fine Gael in DBS and neighbouring areas, and supporters and friends of Kate O Connell”.

It asks the recipient to encourage their family and friends in the constituency to give their first preference vote to Labour’s Ivana Bacik, followed by Claire Byrne (Green), Deirdre Conroy (Fianna Fáil), Sarah Durcan (Social Democrats) and Lynn Boylan (Sinn Féin).

It says that women have been neglected during the pandemic and that they need to vote for strong representation.

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Fine Gael candidate James Geoghegan is not mentioned in the text.

Voters are casting their ballots tomorrow in the Dublin Bay South by-election, which was called after the resignation of TD and former housing minister Eoghan Murphy. 

15 candidates across the political spectrum will be named on the ballot, one of whom will join Eamon Ryan (Green), Jim O’Callaghan (Fianna Fáil) and Chris Andrews (Sinn Féin) in the four-seat constituency.

It is the first election to be held since the onset of Covid-19 in Ireland.

Voters are being asked to bring their own pens or pencils to their polling station where possible, to use hand sanitiser, and to wear a face covering.

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