Fianna Fail may not have done so intentionally but it has become a party that does not seem to like women candidates. The latest incident which gives credibility to this theory involves Maria Fenlon-Keating and the failure of the party to add her to the ticket for the North Kilkenny electoral area ahead of the forthcoming county council elections.
It sends a clear message to rank and file Fianna Fail members, that if you’re female and if you have strong backing, don’t bother going for the council.
The 27 year old received 19 votes at the convention, sitting councillor, Pat Millea, aged 74 received 5.
Cllr Millea, a great worker and excellent councillor has now been officially added to the ticket at the expense of Maria Fenlon-Keating. He had signalled his intention to retire some months ago but has had a change of heart after constituents approached him let his name go again.
Fianna Fail now runs the danger of alienating the female vote and if it gathers momentum it will do little for the party’s image, especially ahead of the gender quota system which sill be in place for future local elections.
Insider knows that the general secretary of Fianna Fail, Sean Dorgan reads the column and I am asking him to do the right thing.
Maria was a clear third at the convention behind successful nominees, Pat Fitzpatrick, Ballyfoyle and Mick McCarthy, Freshford.
It beggars belief that a woman with a great chance of getting a seat for the party would be denied the chance to do so.
At the convention, the general feeling was that Maria would be added after it was made clear that only two candidates would be selected at the convention.
This column took it as a foregone conclusion that she would be put on the ticket by HQ and the other defeated candidates at the convention, Joe Brennan, Kilmanagh and Jimmy Brennan, Johnstown must also be disappointed with the way things have turned out.
It’s obvious that Deputy John McGuinness has had no part in what has happened as the committee in charge of picking candidates is clouded in secrecy, but if he was to row in behind Maria Fenlon-Keating it would make a difference.