Leo must now crawl back to rebel Kate after FG blunder hands seat to Labour
Fionnan Sheahan, Gabija Gataveckaite and Senan Molony
July 10 2021 02:30 AM
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar will have to embarrassingly seek to get rebel Kate O’Connell back on the party ticket after his disastrous decision to ditch the former Fine Gael TD backfired badly.
Labour Party senator Ivana Bacik dramatically surged ahead to easily win the former Fine Gael seat in the Dublin Bay South by-election.
Fianna Fáil recorded its
worst ever by-election result and the Green Party also flopped on a dreary day for the coalition.
Fine Gael’s James Geoghegan came in second in the party’s long-time stronghold.
The result leaves Fine Gael with no seat in the constituency where the party has had two taoisigh represent it in the past.
But Fine Gael’s decision to reject Ms O’Connell as the obvious candidate, who narrowly lost her Dáil seat last year, came back to bite Mr Varadkar.
The Fine Gael leader will now need to have Ms O’Connell on the ticket to ensure it can challenge next time.
“It’s her move next to indicate if she wants to run. She won’t win the convention. She will have to be added to the ticket,” a senior party source conceded last night.
Fine Gael will be trying to chase two seats in the constituency in the next election.
Mr Geoghegan wants to run again. Mr Varadkar says Fine Gael will have a gender-balanced ticket and Ms O’Connell can seek to be a candidate if she wants.