WITH just one party selection convention left in the city, Fianna Fail looks like falling some way short of meeting its own target of 30% women candidates in the local elections.
Yvonne McMahon, Rhebogue, is the only female selected to date and will contest the election in Limerick City North.
And it looks unlikely at present that any will be selected in Limerick City East, where Cllr Kieran O’Hanlon will possibly be joined by publican Jerry O’Dea, community activist Jim Hickey and another candidate in Castleconnell.
Ms McMahon, meanwhile, said her campaign would focus on unemployment, housing and other issues.
As personal secretary to Deputy Willie O’Dea, she was used to dealing with issues “from housing and general council queries to matters of social welfare, immigration, medical card awards, grants and appeals”.
Ms McMahon feels she can relate to the unemployed, having been made redundant twice inside three years during the 1980s. On neither occasion did she receive a redundancy payment or retraining.
“I feel it is absolutely vital that people are given the tools necessary to enable them move forward in circumstances such as these, particularly young people who are now being forced, somewhat callously, into leaving this country. We need the youth of Ireland to remain where possible and to contribute positively to the development and progress of our industries and communities. My family has been directly affected by unemployment and emigration and I will do whatever I can to give advice to anyone who requires it,” she said.
Before facing the electorate next summer, Ms McMahon has another daunting appointment this Friday when she weds long-term partner David O’Connell.