Tipperary Fine Gael race - now three women go forward for election nomination

Tipperary Fine Gael race - now two women go forward for election nomination

Cashel accountant Shelagh Marshall who is seeking a Fine Gael nomination for the next election.

Hot on the heels of both Michael Fitzgerald and Garret Ahearn announcing their  intention to seek the Fine Gael nomination in Tipperary in the next general election comes a declaration from three would-be female candidates.

Shelagh Marshall, Mary Newman and Cllr Mary Hanna Hourigan have put their names forward for the declaration convention on Friday, September 15.

Shelagh Marshall is a chartered accountant in Cashel while Mary Newman, from Lagganstown, New Inn and sister of Dublin TD Kate O'Connell, works in the animal health pharmaceutical industry.

All candidates will get a chance to make their pitch at the declaration meeting at The Ragg with a selection convention to be held at a later date.

Shelagh Marshal runs her own business Firm Advice in Cashel. She says she sees at first hand the employment and contribution to the local and national economy that small business generates. She wants to work with local Enterprise Boards to ensure that small businesses and start- ups receive the support and assistance necessary to make their businesses successful.

She is also working helping people in debt to negotiate with financial institutions to keep their family home. She is passionate about this subject and sees daily the stress that this causes and the knock on affect with illness and unemployment. 

She says - "As a working parent I also see the supports required for young families and welcome the new Child Care Assistance launched by the government.

"As a parent of young adults I am aware of the challenges they face to acquire their first home and the challenges that face the government to provide affordable housing in the suitable locations for employment".

Fine Gael member and activist Mary Newman from Lagganstown, New Inn comes from a staunch Fine Gael family. The Westmeath native is a sister of well-known Dublin based Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell and daughter of former Fine Gael councillor Michael Newman. 

Mary has been an active member of Fine Gael's Cashel branch since 2004 and recently affiliated to New Inn Fine Gael branch. She was election campaign manager for the late Cllr Catherine McLoughlin; has canvassed for former South Tipperary FG deputy Tom Hayes and for her sister Kate in general election campaigns. 

She is a former secretary of the Cashel Fine Gael branch and has just stepped down as the party's Policy Officer for the Tipperary constituency. 

The mother-of-four is a vet by profession. She previously worked in private veterinary practice and is currently working in an animal health pharmaceutical industry. 

She said she has decided to seek a nomination to run for Fine Gael in the next general election  because she believes Tipperary need a fresh new representative and she has a lot to offer. 

"I think I have benefited a lot from a good education in this state and I feel a sense of duty to pay back to society. I do think we could do with new people (in politics) from private industry, people who have worked in various roles in industry and their professional work," she told The Nationalist. 

Fine Gael councillor Mary Hanna Hourigan from Cappawhite said she has decided to throw her hat in the ring after being contacted by a lot of Fine Gael members in Tipperary urging her to do so since last year's General Election result and particularly over the last few weeks.
Cllr Hourigan believes she should be chosen by the party to contest the next election because she is very hardworking on behalf of her constituents and straight with people.
"I am very sincere, and I don't say that lightly. I am what I am and what you see is what you get. I don't go around making false promises."
"I think it's an exciting time for Fine Gael and I think we have wonderful people declaring. It's great to see good, qualified, intelligent people, men and women, interested. "
Cllr Hourigan has followed in the political footsteps of her father, the late Fine Gael Cllr JP (Hanna) Ryan. She was first elected to South Tipperary Co. Council in 2009 and increased her first preference votes when she was elected to the new Tipperary Co. Council in the 2014 local elections.
She is a member of the HSE South Regional Forum and Tipperary Education & Training Board and is one of four Irish councillors on the EU's Council of Local & Regional Authorities. Along with Cllr Michael Murphy there are now five people who have declared their interest in running for Fine Gael in Tipperary at the next general election.