Cllr. Emer Higgins has been announced by Fine Gael as their candidate for the upcoming Bye-Election. The move comes as no surprise given that Higgins was selected two years ago by the party to run in the General Election. But things have changed dramatically since then, and with Frances Fitzgerald now elected to the European Parliament a vacancy now exists for Dublin Mid West in Dáil Eireann. The Bye-Election to fill Frances’ seat is expected to be held at the end of November.
Outgoing TD Frances Fitzgerald, MEP, nominated Cllr. Higgins saying that Fine Gael Mid West are very lucky to have someone of Emer’s calibre, that she is an ideal candidate, extremely diligent and conscientious, especially in her community work. She said she has huge initiative and has never waivered in the effort she has put in to the constituency.
Speaking at the convention Higgins, who has been a Councillor for eight years, said:
“These bye elections come as we approach endgame in Brexit. We don’t know if in a few days time there will be a final deadline or a brief extension. The next few weeks could decide the future of our island for decades to come. This Government has secured the support of all 26 European countries to keep the border open after Brexit. We have been able to do this because the Government has a stable majority - when Fianna Fail abstains from voting.
“There is a real and stark danger that these bye elections will change this. At the most vital and pressing hour of the Brexit saga, the Irish Government could have its majority in the Dail wiped out over night by these Bye Elections, and fall at any time over any issue the opposition chooses to raise; even when Fianna Fail abstain.
“How will the border remain central to the Brexit negotiations if Irish politics is in disarray? It falls on this constituency to play an important role. Keeping our seat has ramifications far beyond Dublin Mid West.
Cllr. Higgins also took the opportunity to share her thoughts on gender quota’s, a controversial political topic.
“I am especially proud to stand before you tonight asking for your support to retain Frances’ seat, not because of some gender diktat, but because I am our best prospect at securing the seat for our party. There is no denying how successful gender quotas have been at increasing the number of women elected to the Dail. But, I look forward to the day they aren’t needed. I don’t feel empowered by legislation that treats female candidates like damsels in distress or by the idea that the rules need to be changed for women to succeed, I find that oppressive.”