Senator Averil Power has accused Fianna Fáil of using her when she was in the party to cover up for the fact that it had no strategy to attract or elect female politicians.
The bitter war of words between the former party senator and Fianna Fáil continued yesterday after her shock resignation earlier this week.
It has also emerged that two senior figures under the last Fianna Fáil-led government are set to make a return to politics — if they are selected as candidates for the next general election this week.
Ms Power’s surprise departure from Fianna Fáil overshadowed the party’s welcome for its newly elected TD, Bobby Aylward, who arrived at Leinster House yesterday.
While senior party figures were insisting it was business as usual, Ms Power yesterday revealed more of her dissatisfaction with Fianna Fáil after she earlier this week claimed no party TDs had canvassed for the same-sex marriage referendum.
Ms Power said she had complained before that a strategy to get women involved in Fianna Fáil — in line with gender quotas — was not working. She said that she was reprimanded for making her concerns public.
The party has been left with just one female parliamentary member, Senator Mary White.
“You’re not going to have the female candidates that you need if you don’t take action,” she told Newstalk. Despite continued concerns being raised, Ms Power said nothing was done.
“I also felt that I was being used to some extent to cover up for the fact that there weren’t women [coming into the party]. I resented that, I resented that I’d been asked to do this strategy. We launched with great fanfare. It looked like the party was doing something.
“I felt that I was being used as cover for the fact that genuinely nothing was happening.
“And I felt that I was doing a disservice to the issue by doing that because I was helping them to have to masquerade that there was something happening when there wasn’t and I said ‘the longer I continue to do that, the less they’re going to do’.”
However, Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley rejected claims the party was not doing enough.
“There are very many women who are attracted to Fianna Fáil... it’s over, Averil has decided.”
Meanwhile, the party has confirmed that former senator and adviser on the North, Martin Mansergh, will compete for selection in the general election in Tipperary this Thursday while former junior mini- ster John Curran will do the same in Dublin North West.
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