Tag Archives: Kate O’Connell

This morning.

Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio One.

Kate O’Connell said over the years she has faced personalised commentary and attacks on her and thinks there was a “pushback” against her to replace her.

At one Fine Gael meeting, she said, her team arrived before her and someone had got a sod of turf and was going to present it to her in front of people at the meeting.

She said that was “designed to diminish” and tell her she was “not from here” but from the country.

She said a sign was also erected outside her pharmacy pointing towards the M50 saying “Westmeath this way“.

Ms O’Connell said attempts were made to label her as “undesirable, unsuitable and not good enough”.


O’Connell will not run in Dublin Bay South by-election (RTÉ)


Fine Gael’s Kate O’Connell and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar during the presidential election campaign in 2018

This morning.

Fine Gael’s Kate O’Connell, who lost her seat in the last general election, spoke to KFm about the recent Seanad election, during which no female Fine Gael candidate won a seat.

Eleven senators will eventually be nominated by the incoming Taoiseach.

Speaking about a resistance to the progress of women, Ms O’Connell said:

“This stems down, it’s a domino effect from the local elections. But also there was a massive pushback from certain sectors and I’m speaking about my own party because that’s what I have knowledge of.

“When there is progress from women there is pushback from some elements within the party usually the younger, Young Fine Gael wing.”


Listen: O’Connell Says There Is Push-Back From Some In Fine Gael, Against Female Candidates. (KFm, Ciara Plunkett)

Previously: Bay Of Tears


From top: Chris Andrews, Jim O’Callaghan Eoghan Murphy and Kate O’Connell

This morning/afternoon

RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Scenes from the final tallies in the Dublin Bay South four-seater, where Fine Gael Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy joined Chris Andrews SF), Jim O’Callaghan (FF) and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan (elected yesterday) – at the expense of colleague Kate O’Connell

Eoghan Murphy Retains Seat At Cost Of Kate O’Connell (Newstalk)


From  left: Maria Bailey, Kate O’Connell and her sister Mary Newman-Julian

This morning.

On RTÉ’s Today with Miriam, Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell commented on why she changed her Facebook photograph moments after her friend and party colleague Maria Bailey did an interview with Sean O’Rourke on RTÉ about swinggate in May.

Ms O’Connell’s ‘cover photo’ on Facebook had been a picture of her with her sister Mary Newman-Julian, a Fine Gael election candidate for Tipperary, and Ms Bailey.

Her comments on RTÉ this morning follow Minister for Communications Richard Bruton saying yesterday that he would support Ms Bailey if she decides to run in the next election and reports that Fine Gael are considering adding two councillors to the ticket in Ms Bailey’s constituency of Dun Laoghaire.

Ms O’Connell couldn’t confirm if it is the case that Fine Gael are planning this strategy – saying she’s not on the national executive.

But she added it would be “bizarre to have that many people on the ticket”.

She said, in terms of the “democratic process”, that “if anybody thinks somebody shouldn’t, anybody in Ireland isn’t allowed to run for parliament, I think you’re actually cutting into democracy”.

But she refused to give her opinion on whether or not Ms Bailey should run again.

Ms O’Connell then had this exchange with Ms O’Callaghan:

Miriam O’Callaghan: “And Kate, remember, you Kate, I think, took Maria Bailey down off your Facebook page, hours after Seán’s interview on this show was heard.”

Kate O’Connell: “Well, actually I discussed that with Maria and such was the level of abuse my social media page was getting, it wasn’t actually, I never commented before now, but it was more to protect what my staff were facing.

“I spoke to Maria Bailey pretty much every day, every few days, since this crisis, if you want to call it that, happened. Yes, she made an error of judgement. Yes, obviously, that Seán O’Rourke interview…but I would very much echo Richard Bruton’s words yesterday, you know, are we going to have, you know, a tick box list of who can and who can’t run for Dáil Éireann.”

O’Callaghan: “So were your staff getting abuse?”

O’Connell: “My staff?”

O’Callaghan: “Yeah.”

O’Connell: “Of course, my staff were. And as for the people working with Maria Bailey. They have endured a huge amount of abuse. And these are people who are working, as you know Daragh [O’Brien, Fianna Fáil TD] they’re not on great wages, Dáil staff, and they are dealing with, and they have to get up and go to work every day and get huge social media abuse.

“So I laughed at how it could make a story in a newspaper – my profile picture. But it was very much to protect staff and I think if Maria Bailey wants to run, it’s her decision. She’s a hard-working TD, she had to resign from an awful lot of committees, she does an awful lot of work in Leinster House.”

Listen back in full here

Previously: Time Waster Of The Day

Eamonn Kelly: Not Far From The Tree


From top: Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny with Fine Gael TDs and MEPs at the party’s think-in in Newbridge, Co Kildare yesterday; Kate O’Connell TD arrives.

You may recall how members of Fine Gael were to be briefed by Marion Coy, chair of the Collins Institute, at the party’s think-in yesterday – in relation to a report she carried out about the party’s poor performance in the general election.

Fine Gael TD Kate O’Connell was also to brief the party’s members about a second, separate report about the election.

Ms O’Connell and John Downing, of the Irish Independent, spoke to Sean O’Rourke this morning about the reports.

From the discussion…

Seán O’Rourke: “Kate O’Connell, you, as I said, with party colleagues, were part of a group tasked with identifying what went wrong for Fine Gael in the election which led to the loss of so many seats. You finished this election with 50 seats compared to 76 at the previous one in 2011. So, summarise your findings.”

Kate O’Connell: “Well, I suppose, yesterday what we presented was a synopsis of some of the recommendations in the report, the entire report will be published in due course. But there was various weaknesses in the campaign such as, obviously, the message, I think is well, been well discussed at this stage. That didn’t seem to resonate with the voters. We seemed to somehow lose sight of, we expected that everybody thought that it was based on the economy and they would vote for us based on the fact that, as a party, we had had brought Ireland from the brink but, as it turned out, people weren’t thinking that way. And, for some reason, we didn’t seem to get our message out there to the people. And if we did get a message out there, the people didn’t really like it. So, I suppose, there was an issue with communication of our message. To some extent, people didn’t really know why you would vote Fine Gael over perhaps other parties. So, there was a messaging issue. As there seems to have been a very, very close group of people that perhaps in control and there was very little influence from outside. There was an overuse of commercial focus groups and that sort of thing…”

O’Rourke: “Yeah, I’m just looking here, in the archive. Fine Gael spent over €200,000 of State funding on opinion polling and focus groups last year in the run-up the February election.”

O’Connell: “Yes, yeah, yes, it’s shocking really.”

O’Rourke: “Shocking that you have such money to spend or shocking that you spend it with such little effect.”

O’Connell: “Well, I mean, you’ve a pot of money to spend and, as a Fine Gaeler, we were always involved in fundraising activities and I would really like to see the money being spent and resources are scarce. It’s a big organisation…”

O’Rourke: “And on top…”

O’Connell: “Resources in the right direction.”

O’Rourke:On top of which another €100,000 of public money was spent on a website and social media services and this is just according to returns published by the Standards In Public Office Commission [Sipo]. I mean that seems to have been money down the drain?”

O’Connell: “Well, I’m sure there are some elements that worked out and I’m not privy to all the data from that research but, what I would say, is that it does seem that we didn’t get very good bang for our buck…”


John Downing: “She [Marion Coy] describes the HQ structure, it’s interesting that Fine Gael’s headquarters is a street away from Leinster House and Government Buildings, yet the criticisms, one thing in common in both reports, is that this campaign was too top-down, that it was dictated by a small group at the top of the party pyramid and Ms Coy recommends a overhaul of many of the elements of the party, including research and the communications office. And she talks about electoral strategy and planning for elections done in a more inclusive manner.”

Previously: ‘I Didn’t Enjoy The Election…But I’ve Got My Mojo Back’

The John Deasy Transcript

Listen back in full here

Pic: RTE



From top: Fine Gael Dublin City Councillor Kate O’Connell and a leaflet that was circulated in the Baggot Street area of Dublin in August 2013

The Irish Times reports this morning that Dublin City Council has approved plans to turn the former Longfield Hotel on Fitzwilliam Street into a homeless hostel.

It will be run by the Simon Community, which plans to close its Harcourt Street shelter once the hostel on Fitzwilliam Street is ready to be opened.

Olivia Kelly, in this morning’s Irish Times, reports:

“A report by city council chief executive Owen Keegan said the council received 63 submissions in relation to its plans to convert Longfield’s Hotel for use as a homeless hostel, one of which was “fully supportive”.

Several raised concerns about potential antisocial behaviour, and the safety of pedestrians and property owners. The “temptations” close to the location, including a “gambling casino”, public houses, nightclubs, and shops selling alcohol, were highlighted.”

Further to this…


Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 10.03.45

Previously: Finally

Former Georgian hotel to be converted into homeless shelter (Olivia Kelly, Irish Times)