Averil Power, Muire Na nGael

From the tabloid news and current affairs website, The Journal, a brief puff-piece reporting on RTÉ’s “Sunday With Miriam” radio show where several former TDanna discussed their “devastation” at losing their seats in the general election of 2016. The programme featured politicians from Fine Gael to Sinn Féin. However there was one surprising inclusion:

“THERE WERE WINNERS and losers after the dust had settled and the final election results were read out last week.

Some of the greatest losses were no doubt felt by those TDs who failed to get reelected – having lost not only the backing of their constituents but also their jobs.

Averil Power said that at one point during the marathon count at the RDS she thought that she was going to be elected.

She was told that she was ahead of AAAPBP candidate John Lyons by just six votes and that he would be next elected. However, a mistake was made with the count, and she was actually off by 100 votes.

That just shows how crazy it was, it all came down to a few dozen votes.”

What makes Averil Power’s inclusion somewhat odd is the fact that she did not lose her seat in An Dáil – because she never had a seat to lose in the first place. She was not a TD, nor has she ever been one. In fact Power is something of a serial loser when it comes to the ballot box.

Candidate in the 2009 local and European elections in Howth-Malahide local electoral area. Lost.

Candidate in the 2011 general election in the Dublin North–East constituency. Lost.

Candidate in the 2016 general election in the Dublin Bay North constituency. Lost.

Of course, being anathema to the voters of the capital hasn’t done her political career any harm. In the past she has served as a “political adviser” to then Fianna Fáil minister Mary Hanafin on a government salary reported to be some €100,191 per annum. In 2011 – and just prior to that year’s general election – the FF leader, Micheál Martin, appointed Power directly to his Opposition team, breaking the convention that members of the so-called “front bench” must hold elected office. Despite the resultant high profile in the national press on polling day the voters gave Power a resounding “Níl!“, leading Martin to throw her the traditional consolation prize for aspirant or retired politicians in Ireland: a seat in Seanad Éireann via an “election” (take note of the quotation marks) by the rubber-stamping Industrial and Commercial Vocational Panel.

However, regardless of her mixed record, Averil Power continues to be a regular voice and face on Irish news radio and television, not to mention the odd appearance in the Irish Independent newspaper, which of course is edited by her husband, the cuddly Fionnán Sheahan.

Strange that.

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