Enda Kenny rejects gender quota claims

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has rejected claims that the decision to add Jobs Minister Richard Bruton as a general election candidate after he lost out at convention flies in the face of strict new gender quotas.

At Thursday night’s Dublin Bay North convention, the long-standing TD was surprisingly not selected, with councillors Naoise Ó Muirí and Stephanie Regan chosen instead.

Party officials immediately put down a motion to allow the national executive add Mr Bruton’s name to the list of candidates for the toughly contested five-seater constituency.

The move, which was made yesterday, has led to claims Fine Gael ignored 30% gender quotas by adding a second man to the list when a man and a woman were selected.

However, speaking in Castlebar, Co Mayo, the Taoiseach said there has been no denial of quotas.

Fine Gael officials had originally said the sought-after two-candidate ticket should be divided between the genders.

Despite the convention shock and the risk to strategic vote splitting, Mr Bruton is still likely to retain a Fine Gael seat, meaning two officially selected candidates may have to battle it out with each other.

Speaking on RTÉ radio, Ms Regan said she did not gain a place just because she is a woman, adding female candidates can win on their own merit.

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