FG's Kate O'Connell not selected to contest Seanad elections

Former Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell has not been selected to contest the Seanad elections after party HQ ruled her out but backed others for the race for the upper house.

FG's Kate O'Connell not selected to contest Seanad elections

Former Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell has not been selected to contest the Seanad elections after party HQ ruled her out but backed others for the race for the upper house.

Despite much speculation that Ms O'Connell were keen to return to Leinster House, the party released its nominations for the Seanad today without her name on the list.

Some 13 contenders have been backed by sitting TDs with the new Dail and outgoing senators from the 25th Seanad, under a system known as 'inside' nominations. Others in Fine Gael have already received backing from outside approved bodies to seek election on the panels in the Seanad, include outgoing senators and other election candidates.

Ms O'Connell was a prominent figure in the last Dail, campaigning to liberalise the abortion laws while also highlighting rundown health services.

The Fine Gael list-released earlier today-says that nominees had been selected by Fine Gael's executive council to contest the Seanad elections.

These include former Limerick County TD Tom Neville, councillor and Louth general election candidate John McGahon, former junior finance minister Michael D'Arcy, outgoing senators Jerry Buttimer and Joe O'Reilly, former Dublin North West TD Noel Rock as well as councillor and Dublin West election candidate Emer Currie.

Others decided overnight by Fine Gael HQ to put forward for places on the five Seanad panels include other candidates who ran in last month's general election. They include councillors Sharon Tolan, Michael Carrigy, John Paul O'Shea, John Cummins, Aisling Dolan and Garret Ahearn.

The decision by Fine Gael to back Tipperary general election candidate Garret Ahearn for the Seanad elections is also a surprise. The decision is despite the fact that Ms O'Connell's sister, Mary Newman Julian, who also ran in Tipperary for the party in the general election, has already been nominated for the Seanad race by an outside body.

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