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Meet the Hillary fundraiser who reckons she has a shot at the Dáil

Linda O’Shea Farren, who failed to get elected to Dublin City Council last year, is seeking the Fine Gael nomination in Dublin Bay South.

Linda O'Shea Farren
Linda O'Shea Farren
Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

A FORMER GOVERNMENT adviser, who has fundraised for Hillary Clinton’s latest White House bid, is making a late pitch to run for Fine Gael in the next general election.

Linda O’Shea Farren is seeking the Fine Gael nomination to run in the increasingly fascinating Dublin Bay South constituency. She sent a letter, along with her CV, to party members in the area earlier this month seeking their support.

Despite the party hierarchy favouring the selection of local councillor Kate O’Connell, along with incumbent TD Eoghan Murphy, on a two candidate ticket, O’Shea Farren has put her name forward for the convention along with local councillor Kieran Binchy.

A local party source suggested Ballsbridge-based O’Shea Farren’s bid to win the nomination was aimed at preventing Rathgar-based O’Connell, who was elected to Dublin City Council last year, from being on the ticket.

The 30 per cent gender quota rule means that Fine Gael almost certainly needs one male and one female candidate in Dublin Bay South at the next election. It’s not yet clear if headquarters will issue a directive to members to select one man and one woman at the convention this Thursday night.

Already, Binchy has hit out at “unelected officials” in his own party who he warned “may try to spike my election”.

O’Shea Farren and her husband, lawyer Brian Farren, hosted a fundraiser for Clinton’s latest White House bid at their Ballsbridge home last August. The couple held a similar fundraiser at their Raglan Road home in 2007 for Clinton’s failed 2008 White House bid. Former president Bill Clinton was among the attendees on that occasion.

O’Shea Farren is a lawyer by trade and former adviser to Nora Owen when she was justice minister. She failed to get elected to Dublin City Council in the local elections last year and was eliminated with just 724 votes.

She declined to comment when contacted by TheJournal.ie this week.

In a letter to party members in Dublin Bay South, seen by this website, she said she believed she had the qualifications and experience in the public, private and voluntary sectors that “would enable me to make a valuable contribution in national politics”.

In the letter, O’Shea Farren also says she comes from a “staunch Fine Gael family in Limerick” where she was canvassing for candidates “since I was in ankle socks”.

A source close to her suggested she would be pitching her experience as the reason why she should be selected, while acknowledging she does not command the support that others have been building in recent months.

Fine Gael and Labour won two seats each in the four-seat constituency formerly known as Dublin South East at the last election.

Former minister Lucinda Creighton has since quit Fine Gael and formed Renua Ireland. She will be strongly backed to hold her seat along with former party colleague Murphy. Ruairi Quinn’s retirement means that his Labour colleague Kevin Humphreys will likely be the party’s only candidate.

Sinn Féin is expected to run former Fianna Fáil TD and current councillor, Chris Andrews. Fianna Fáil has selected councillor Jim O’Callaghan, with the Green Party leader and former minister Eamon Ryan also running in a constituency that will be closely watched at the next election.

Earlier: Fine Gael kick-starts its election preparations and Dublin will be VERY interesting

Read: Here’s where Eamon Ryan is going to run in the general election

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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