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Trouble for Shatter as Olivia Mitchell to declare she WON'T run again

The former justice minister faces an uphill battle to secure Fine Gael members’ support in his own constituency.

FINE GAEL TD Olivia Mitchell is set to announce that she will not run for re-election despite saying as recently as last week she would be running again.

The Dublin South deputy told TheJournal.ie on Thursday that she WOULD be contesting the forthcoming Fine Gael selection convention for the redrawn Dublin-Rathdown constituency.

But the Irish Independent reported today that Mitchell is expected to announce her retirement from politics and informed headquarters of her intentions in recent days.

Local and national Fine Gael sources have today confirmed this is the case and that Mitchell is likely to announce her decision tomorrow.

Mitchell has so far failed to deny the story.

She is understood to be unhappy that the news of her impending retirement has been reported in the media prior to her informing Fine Gael members and supporters in the constituency.

Sexual and Reproductive Health Issues Source: Leah Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Her departure intensifies an intriguing battle for the Fine Gael nomination in the highly competitive three-seater where another FG incumbent, Alan Shatter, has so far indicated he will be seeking the party’s nomination.

However, as we reported on Saturday, the former justice minister faces a battle for members’ backing with many of his supporters now moved into a neighbouring constituency.

The boundary redraw has reduced the number of Fine Gael members in Dublin-Rathdown from over 400 to around 230 with some of Shatter’s supporters now moved into Dublin South-West.

His popularity locally has also waned in the wake of the various garda and justice controversies that forced him to resign from cabinet last year and the closure of a local garda station.

Councillor Neale Richmond is expected to be Shatter’s strongest opponent at the Fine Gael convention and will have the backing of many of Mitchell’s supporters.

His council colleague Josepha Madigan could benefit from a possible directive from Fine Gael HQ to select at least one female candidate in the wake of Mitchell’s departure.

Given one female TD is departing it is unlikely that Fine Gael would run an all-male ticket in the constituency as at least a third of all its general election candidates are legally required to be female.

However Madigan took to Facebook earlier to say she had “no intention of being a ticket filler”.

madigan fb

Another local councillor, Barry Saul, could now put his name forward at convention having earlier indicated he would not run if both Shatter and Mitchell did seek re-election.

Fine Gael has scheduled a selection convention for 2 October with nomination papers distributed last week. Party headquarters is also currently conducting private polling in the constituency to determine candidate strategy.

Read: Alan Shatter’s fight for redemption in south Dublin

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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