Red faces as Richard Bruton loses out at FG election forum

Top Fine Gael figure relegated in favour of Cllr Naoise Ó Muirí and Stephanie Regan

Richard Bruton: One of the few Fine Gael TDs to hold his seat in the capital when the party experience its meltdown at the 2002 general election. Photograph: The Irish Times

Richard Bruton: One of the few Fine Gael TDs to hold his seat in the capital when the party experience its meltdown at the 2002 general election. Photograph: The Irish Times

 

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton lost his general election selection convention as a cohort of local delegates revolted over a gender quotas directive from Fine Gael headquarters.

In a huge upset which will prove embarrassing to Fine Gael, Mr Bruton lost out at the convention to Dublin city councillor Naoise Ó’Muirí and Stephanie Regan, who failed to get elected to Dublin City Council last year.

However, the Minister – who has represented his constituency since 1982 – will be added to the Dublin Bay North ticket by party headquarters at a meeting of the Fine Gael executive council on Friday morning.

Mr Bruton was also one of the few Fine Gael TDs to hold his seat in the capital when the party experience its meltdown at the 2002 general election.

According to sources at the selection convention in Clontarf Castle, Mr O’Muirí, a former lord mayor of Dublin, told the meeting the only way he could get on the ticket was to win the convention, in a clear indication either Mr Bruton or Ms Regan would be added should they lose out.

Clear indication

To comply with the new gender quota rules, party headquarters dictated two candidates should be selected: one man and one woman.

Mr O’Muirí said party headquarters would add whatever candidate they wanted after the convention, in a clear indication they would add Mr Bruton or Ms Regan should he lose out.

Local sources said the convention was planned by supporters of Mr O’Muirí to force the party into a three-candidate strategy in the constituency.

It is understood there was shock when the result was announced, with long-standing party members criticising what they said was a hugely embarrassing result for Mr Bruton.

Delegates then passed an emergency motion calling for the Minister to be added back on the ticket, which will be adopted by the executive council on Friday.