Fianna Fáil are losing – Young, female and from Dublin

Averil Power has championed issues in areas of children’s rights, adoption and gender equality

Fianna Fáil Senator Averil Power announced she intends to leave the party outside Leinster House this afternoon, saying the party "lacks vision, courage and leadership".


Young, female and from Dublin: 36-year-old Averil Power represented pretty much everything that was missing from Fianna Fáil’s current Oireachtas team.

A popular figure around Leinster House, the Senator from Bayside featured prominently on the Yes side in the recent same-sex marriage referendum and won many admirers among gay rights activists for her determined stance and energetic workrate.

She contested the 2011 General Election for Fianna Fáil in Dublin North East, failing to take a Dáil seat but securing a decent 4,794 first-preference votes.

She became a Senator in April 2011 and was Fianna Fail’s spokeswoman on education and skills in the Upper House.

Ms Power had served as an adviser to Mary Hanafin when the latter was a government minister.

She studied at Trinity College, Dublin, gaining a BA in business, economics and social science, and was president of the students’ union at TCD.

She is married to Fionnan Sheahan, editor of the Irish Independent.

Ms Power has championed issues in the areas of children’s rights, adoption and gender equality.

When she was around 10 years of age, her parents, who “ loved me as their own”, told her she had been adopted.

When she turned 18, she contacted the Adoption Board but said neither it nor the agency she had been adopted through would give her any information about her birth mother.

In 2006 she signed up to a new voluntary contact register. So did her birth mother, and the pair reconnected.

She found out she had been called Roisin Ryan during the time she spent in a mother and baby home in Temple Hill in Dublin before being adopted and renamed.

On Monday, s he said the day her Adoption Information Bill passed the Seanad with unanimous support was one of the proudest days of her life.

In 2013, Ms Power chaired a Fianna Fáil group that created a plan identifying internal mechanisms to maximise the number of female candidates in the 2014 local elections.

She was subsequently critical of the party’s “patchy” implementation of the plan, complaining that many recommendations were not acted upon.

“Failing to get a single female TD elected in 2011 should have provided the impetus Fianna Fáil needed to finally take serious action to address its low rate of female participation. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to have been the case,” she wrote.

Her decision to go Independent leaves Fianna Fail with just one woman Oireachtas member, Senator Mary White.