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Shock in Fine Gael as Richard Bruton fails to get selected in his own backyard

The Jobs Minister will now have to be added to the Fine Gael ticket in Dublin Bay North.

Richard Bruton
Richard Bruton
Image: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

JOBS MINISTER RICHARD Bruton failed to get selected for Fine Gael in his own constituency after a dramatic selection convention in north Dublin tonight.

Fine Gael members in Dublin Bay North voted to select councillor Naoise Ó Muirí and former local election candidate Stephanie Regan to run for the party at the next general election.

The party’s executive council will now have to add Bruton to the ticket in a setback and embarrassment for the minister and the party.

It had been expected that Bruton would be selected alongside Regan after members were directed to select one male and one female candidate in order to comply with new gender quota rules.

The vote is a setback for Fine Gael strategists who expected to run only two candidates in the new five-seat constituency.

Sources at the meeting said Ó Muirí gave an impassioned speech to members. He urged them to vote for him as there was no chance he would be added to the ticket due to the rule requiring 30 per cent of political parties’ candidates to be female.

The former lord mayor of Dublin’s speech was a passionate appeal to local members which convinced many of them to vote for him, one source said.

Bruton was described as being visibly shocked when the result was announced.

Local Fine Gael councillor Keith Redmond, who supported Ó Muirí, told TheJournal.ie the result was due to “tactical” voting and said there was some anger about the gender quotas directive.

Redmond said that the general atmosphere was “quite shocked but at the same time there was a large proportion of people in the room who were voting tactically” due to it being Ó Muirí’s only chance of being on the ticket.

Redmond said there was a “lot of shock and anger from people in the room” when the announcement was made as not everyone was aware of the “tactical voting”.

There was some anger against the new gender quota directives. I want the best candidate on the ticket for Fine Gael.

He said that confidence in Bruton is “not an issue at all” and that “everyone in the room knew he was going to be added to the ticket”.

“It’s extremely clever tactical voting,” Redmond added. 

Following the vote, a motion to add Bruton to the ticket was passed by Dublin Bay North members.

Fine Gael later confirmed the minister would be added to the ticket by the party’s executive council tomorrow.

Elsewhere, there was better news for one of Bruton’s cabinet colleagues tonight with Communications Minister Alex White selected as the Labour candidate in Dublin Rathdown.

- additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell 

Read: Why has support for Fine Gael and Labour fallen?>

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