‘Fianna Fáil laugh at Leo Varadkar going to Electric Picnic ... but they stay out late’

Fianna Fáil’s Lisa McDonald says the party has problem with mothers

Lisa McDonald: the Wexford Fianna Fáil councillor has accused the party of sexism and bullying and of having a problem with candidates who are mothers

Lisa McDonald: the Wexford Fianna Fáil councillor has accused the party of sexism and bullying and of having a problem with candidates who are mothers

 

Lisa McDonald, the Wexford councillor who this week accused Fianna Fáil of sexism and bullying, has gone further with her claims, saying the party has a problem with mothers as political candidates.

The former senator and general-election candidate told the Irish Times Women’s Podcast that the reason the party added two male candidates in Wexford, making it a four-person ticket, is that it doesn’t think McDonald is “capable or confident enough”.

She said: “They decided, ‘She doesn’t have time for this. She’s a mammy: she makes lunches in the morning for her children.’ Imagine that. She goes home and tucks her children into bed.”

McDonald said that Fianna Fáil has had a problem with women “since the foundation of the State” and gets “spooked” if candidates do not fit into the “scientific” formula of Micheál Martin, the party’s leader.

Who is its perfect candidate, according to this formula? “An unmarried person... without children. They do not want you with children... They keep saying, ‘How does she have the time for this?’ I am sick listening to that. If I hear this once more I am going to blow a gasket.

“Fianna Fáil laugh at the likes of Varadkar going out to the Electric Picnic, or whatever he does in his spare time. And what are they doing? They are schmoozing around, a**-licking, staying out places late. I don’t stay around after meetings; I go home... I don’t go into that realm of backslapping which is still prevalent.

“They have a couple of women now who are good performers, and they don’t need to go any further... ‘We don’t want the place flooded with women. Oh, Bejaysus, we don’t want any more.’”

McDonald added that the party was hoping she would “toddle off” but that she wasn’t going anywhere and would remain on the ticket.

Fianna Fáil responded to McDonald’s points in a statement. The completion of any general-election ticket is “often contentious and can regularly cause concern on the part of incumbent candidates”, it said, adding that the Wexford ticket has always been under review, and two candidates were added to offer the electorate “a very strong and representative ticket which has the potential to maximise the party’s vote in the constituency and build on our existing presence of one TD.”

Fianna Fáil added that it values McDonald as a councillor and general-election candidate. “However, no incumbent candidate in any constituency can expect to have a veto over the composition of the final candidate ticket.”

It also called her comments on the candidate issue and the party’s attitudes to mothers and women “unfair, hurtful, baseless and demonstrably untrue”. “It is also deeply unfair and hurtful to both current and former female Fianna Fáil representatives and members, who have played a central role in our work and in the governance of this country, at every level, from our foundation to the current day. Our work to attract more women into politics is ongoing and continues to make progress.”

You can hear the interview here.

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