Fidelma Healy Eames
|Fidelma Healy Eames|
July 2007 – April 2016
14 July 1962 |
Moylough, Galway, Ireland
|Political party||Independent (from July 2013),
|Alma mater||Carysfort College,
Western Connecticut SU,
|Occupation||Former Primary teacher,
Fidelma Healy Eames (born 14 July 1962) is a former Irish politician and former member of Seanad Éireann. She was first elected to the Senate in 2007 by the Labour Panel. As a member of the Reform Alliance group, she sat as an independent senator, having lost the Fine Gael parliamentary party whip in July 2013. In March 2016 she announced her retirement from politics.
Personal life and business
Healy Eames was born in Lakeview, Moylough, County Galway. She attended St. Patricks NS, Moylough and Holy Rosary College, Mountbellew. She grew up on the family dairy farm with her three sisters and one brother. Healy Eames is married to Michael Eames. They live in Mardee in Oranmore, County Galway.
Healy Eames graduated from both Carysfort College, Western Connecticut State University in the USA, and NUI Galway, holding B.Ed., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees respectively. She was a primary school teacher and college lecturer in teacher education, and is the director of her own business, "FHE Education and Training Providers".
Healy Eames was first elected to Galway County Council, for the Oranmore electoral area, and served there from 2004-2007. Her various appointments as a Galway County Councillor (2004-2007) included: Chairperson of County Galway Vocational Education Committee (VEC); member of Governing Body, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), member of HSE West Regional Forum, director of Galway Airport, member of Galway City and County Enterprise Board, member of Western Rail Committee and member of Galway Arts Centre Board.
General election results
She was an unsuccessful candidate at the 2002, 2007, 2011, and 2016 general elections for the Galway West constituency. In the 2016 general election, she received 2.17% of the first preference vote, down from the 8.3% she had received in the 2011 election.
She was elected as a Senator by sitting TDs and councilors in 2007, and appointed the Fine Gael Seanad (senate) spokesperson on Education and Science. In 2011, she was appointed the Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Social Protection and member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on European Affairs and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Science. Healy Eames was the Fine Gael Seanad Spokesperson on Social Protection until July 2013, when was expelled from the Fine Gael parliamentary party after defying the party whip by voting against the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill 2013. On 13 September 2013, she and six other expellees formed the Reform Alliance, described as a "loose alliance" rather than a political party.
A car belonging to Healy Eames was seized in Galway city on 2 July 2012 for failure to display a valid car disc. She told the Galway Advertiser: “I was using public transport up and down to Dublin and I had neglected the car tax. There is no excuse. I was completely in the wrong”. Healy Eames was then fined for boarding the Galway-Dublin train without a ticket on 12 July 2012, 10 days after her car was seized. She was convicted and fined €1,850 for the motor tax offence.
In March 2015, she attracted press attention for a tweet in which she claimed that were Ireland to legally recognise same-sex marriage, it could mean an end to the celebration of Mothers Day in the country. As evidence, she claimed that various U.S. states had banned Mothers Day and Fathers Day, referring to it as "political correctness gone mad". When critics pointed out that her claim regarding U.S. states was untrue, she retracted that statement, commenting that she meant to refer to a number of U.S. schools. In defending her comments, Healy Eames cited as her source Rense.com, a website run by Jeff Rense, a conspiracy theorist known for Holocaust denial, and criticised by the Anti-Defamation League. Critics in the Yes campaign accused her of employing scare tactics ahead of the May 2015 referendum on the issue.
In July 2015, during a Seanad debate on a bill to curb online freedom of speech, Healy Eames' referred to a "wiffycode" (actually meaning a Wi-Fi hotspot password). A clip of this and the accompanying hashtag "#wiffycode quickly went viral, and a parody mix was released by radio station Spin 1038. She later claimed that she was using the French pronunciation of Wi-Fi.
- "Senator Fidelma Healy Eames announces she is leaving politics". Irish Times. 16 March 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2017.
- "Ms. Fidelma Healy Eames". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
- "Seanad passes abortion legislation second stage". RTÉ News. 16 July 2013.
- Sean Donnelly. "Election 2011". Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames profile p.429.
- "Senator Fidelma Healy-Eames Fine Gael Profile". Fine Gael. 16 July 2013. Archived from the original on July 16, 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
- "Court orders FG Senator's husband to pay plumber". Irish Independent. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- "About: Fidelma Healy Eames". Official website. Retrieved 16 July 2013.
- "Fidelma Healy Eames". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 12 April 2009.
- "The politicians formerly known as the Fine Gael rebels are now the Reform Alliance". TheJournal.ie. 10 September 2013. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
- "Healy Eames opts out of Seanad election". Galway Independent. 16 March 2016.
- "FG Senator Fidelma Healy Eames admits her car seized for no tax disc". Irish Independent. 2 August 2012. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- "Healy Eames drops appeal against €100 train ticket fine". TheJournal.ie. 25 July 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- "Senator Fidelma Healy Eames' car seized for not having valid tax disc". RTÉ News. 2 August 2012. Archived from the original on 3 August 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2012.
- "Fidelma Healy Eames fined €1850 over Motor Tax". RTÉ News. Archived from the original on 30 December 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
- "Court orders payment of €12,000 to plumber in unpaid fees". RTÉ News. 26 July 2012. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 26 July 2012.
- Michael O'Regan (15 March 2015). "Passing marriage equality referendum could 'end Mother's Day'". The Irish Times.
- "Senator explains controversial #pcgonemad tweet". The Irish Examiner. 16 March 2015.
- Harry McGee (16 March 2015). "Healy Eames accepts Mother's Day not banned in any US state". The Irish Times.
- "Keeping Mum". Broadsheet.ie. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- Loftus, Valerie (3 July 2015). "People cannot get over Fidelma Healy-Eames and her 'wiffy code'". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- "Irish senator's 'wiffy' code goes viral". Irish News. 3 July 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- "The WiffyCode Song". 3 July 2015. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- "Healy Eames hits back at critics of 'wiffy' comment".