Catherine Noone

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Catherine Noone
Catherine Noone.jpg
Deputy Leader of Seanad Éireann
In office
1 July 2016 – 27 March 2020
TaoiseachEnda Kenny
Leo Varadkar
LeaderJerry Buttimer
Preceded byIvana Bacik
Succeeded byLisa Chambers
In office
24 April 2011 – 27 March 2020
ConstituencyIndustrial and Commercial Panel
Personal details
Born (1976-06-24) 24 June 1976 (age 44)[1]
Claremorris, County Mayo, Ireland
Political partyFine Gael
Alma materNUI Galway

Catherine Anna Noone (born 24 June 1976) is a former Irish Fine Gael politician.[2] She served as a Senator on the Industrial and Commercial Panel from April 2011 to March 2020.[3]

Prior to her election to the Seanad she was a member of Dublin City Council from 2009 to 2011 for the South East Inner City electoral area where she was elected on the last count over 200 votes short of a quota.[4]

Originally from County Mayo, she studied law in National University of Ireland, Galway and is a practising solicitor.[1]

She was the Fine Gael Seanad spokesperson on Arts and Culture.

Noone stood for the Dáil in the 2016 general election in the four seater Dublin West constituency but was eliminated after the second count with 1,074 first preference votes.[5] She was later nominated for the Seanad and was elected on the 26th count. After being elected to her second term in Seanad Éireann, she was appointed by the Taoiseach as Deputy Leader of Seanad Éireann in July 2016.

In 2017, Noone was chair of the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment, which recommended that it be repealed.[6] Noone was then one of the primary members of Fine Gael who campaigned for a yes vote in the subsequent referendum of 2018, which ultimately lead to the repeal of the amendment in Ireland.[7]

She was an unsuccessful candidate for the Dublin Bay North constituency at the 2020 general election, and lost her seat at the 2020 Seanad Election.


In 2015, Noone called for Mixed Martial Arts to be banned in Ireland, calling it a "vile so-called sport", and announced she had sent a letter to the then Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Paschal Donohoe asking for his view on the idea.[8] This was met with widespread criticism in Ireland. During an interview with Ryan Tubridy on the matter, it was revealed Noone she had never once seen an MMA match, was not familiar with how the sport operated, and at points seemed to confuse it with professional wrestling, believing the fights to be pre-determined.[9] Following the interview Noone made an about-face, admitting she had "jumped the gun" on the issue. Later that month, she called for the Irish Sports Council to recognise MMA.[10][11]

In 2018, Noone was accused of being ageist after she described a priest from County Mayo as an "octogenarian" on her Twitter page. Her comment concerned the priest's homily during Easter Sunday mass at Knock Shrine, County Mayo in which he indirectly outlined the churches anti-abortion stance in the run-up to the referendum on abortion in May 2018.[12] Noone was criticised over censuring the well-established opinions of the Catholic Church on the subject while voluntarily attending the service. She defended her comments before apologising and deleting the comment on Twitter, citing she "overreached" and that "all opinions should be voiced".[13]

In the run-up to the 2020 general election, she was criticised for tweeting a photograph of her campaign van parked on a footpath. Among those critical of her actions, and her response to criticism, was disability activist Joanne O'Riordan who accused Senator Noone of making "the lives of people with disabilities harder to live". Noone initially tweeted that people should "get a grip" and cease complaining, but then deleted the tweet, and she later apologised.[14][15]

In the same election campaign, she referred to the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar as "autistic", before denying having said it. Having been made aware that her remarks were recorded, she said that she didn't mean to use the word in that context and gave examples of potentially offensive words that could be used out of context, including "special" and "nigger". She then clarified that she would "never use the n-word", and said it was a bad example. On 28 January 2020 she issued an apology.[16]

The apology was not accepted by leading autism and Asperger campaigner Fiona Ferris, the deputy chief executive of AsIAm, an autism charity who called for Noone and other politicians to learn about autism. Ferris added "If we go about the attitude that people can say whatever they want and then totally withdraw a statement, I mean, the world would not be a very nice place."[17] Carly Bailey, a candidate in the 2020 election and a parent of a son with autism added in separate comments that "her words have hurt a great many people on the autism spectrum and their families."[18]

She lost her seat at the 2020 Seanad election and was eliminated on the 14th count. [19]


  1. ^ a b Collins, Stephen (2011). Nealon's Guide to the 31st Dáil and 24th Seanad. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan. p. 204. ISBN 9780717150595.
  2. ^ "Catherine Noone". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  3. ^ "Senators elected to the new Seanad". RTÉ News. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  4. ^ "Catherine Noone". Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  5. ^ "Dublin West: 2016 general election". Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  6. ^ Kinsella, Carl. "Senator Catherine Noone has provided a blueprint for 2018's abortion debate". Joe. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  7. ^ McKenna Barry, Sarah (23 October 2018). "Repeal Campaigners Receive The Overall Award At The Women Of The Year Awards". Gcn. Retrieved 8 July 2019. Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone was also included in the overall award in recognition of the role she played as chair of the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment which recommended that Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution be repealed.
  8. ^ O'Neill, Michael. "Senator Catherine Noone believes MMA is a 'vile sport' or at least she did!". Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  9. ^ Harrington, Joe (January 2015). "Catherine Noone's interview about UFC on 2fm that will really frustrate MMA fans". Joe. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  10. ^ Blake, Ben (26 January 2015). "Senator who called for UFC to be banned in Ireland admits she "jumped the gun"". the 42. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  11. ^ Madden, Patrick (14 January 2015). "Catherine Noone backtracks on UFC comments". Irish Times. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  12. ^ Nugent, Ryan (2 April 2018). "Senator defends 'ageist' abortion comment". Irish Independent. Retrieved 4 April 2020.
  13. ^
  14. ^ O'Brien, Mark (20 January 2020). "General Election candidate Catherine Noone under fire after telling voters to 'get a grip' over van parking". DublinLive. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
  15. ^ O'Brien, Mark. "ine Gael candidate Catherine Noone slammed for telling voters to 'get a grip' in deleted tweet". Microsoft News. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  16. ^ O'Connell, Hugh. "'Inexcusable' - Senator Catherine Noone apologises for 'autistic' comments about Taoiseach". Irish Independent. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
  17. ^ Murphy, John (28 January 2020). "Autism spokesperson refuses to accept Catherine Noone apology after controversial remarks". Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  18. ^ Lyne, Laura (28 January 2020). "Catherine Noone slammed for 'incredible lack of understanding' following autism remarks about Leo Varadkar". Retrieved 30 January 2020.
  19. ^ O'Halloran, Marie. "Seanad election: Fianna Fáil's Timmy Dooley and Fine Gael's Catherine Noone eliminated". The Irish Times. Retrieved 20 June 2020.

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