|Dublin City Councillor|
November 2003 – June 2014
20 February 1969 |
|Political party||Fianna Fáil|
|Alma mater||University College Dublin|
Mary Fitzpatrick is a former Irish Fianna Fáil politician and former member of Dublin City Council, representing the Cabra-Glasnevin electoral area. In 2011, prior to the general election she was appointed Fianna Fáil party spokesperson on Housing and Urban Development, despite not being a member of the Oireachtas.
Fitzpatrick is from the Navan Road in Dublin and was educated at Our Lady Help of Christians and St Dominic's College Cabra before graduating from University College Dublin with a BA in German and Italian. She also speaks French.
She emigrated in the 1980s, living and working abroad with roles in the hospitality, manufacturing, education and construction sectors. From the early 1990s she held International Sales and Marketing roles.
Fitzpatrick lives in Glasnevin, Dublin with her husband Sean Cody, and their three children.
Early political career
Fitzpatrick was co-opted to the Council in 2003 to replace her father, Dermot Fitzpatrick TD, who stood down after the Local Government Act 2001 prohibited sitting members of the Oireachtas from holding local authority seats. She was re-elected at the 2004 local elections, polling over 10% of the vote.
2007 general election
At the 2007 general election, held under Ireland's single transferable vote system, rival Cyprian Brady polled just 939 first preference votes (2.7%) in the first count, compared to Fitzgerald's 1,725. However he was elected on the fourth count, due in large part to transfers from his running mate, the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, and became only the second ever TD (after Brian O'Higgins) to be elected with less than 1,000 first-preference votes.
The election became the subject of a public controversy, covered in national newspapers and on the RTÉ Radio 1 news programme Drivetime and on the weekly Documentary on One which had been covering the campaigns of the three female candidates in the constituency.
Mary Fitzpatrick, daughter of the outgoing Fianna Fáil TD and the third Fianna Fáil candidate in the 4-seat constituency, received 1,725 first-preference votes and 1,362 of Ahern's transfers(whereas Brady received 2,403). On the night before polling day, 24 May 2007, Fitzpatrick distributed leaflets to households asking people to vote for her as their first preference. In the early hours of the following morning, a letter had been hand-delivered from Ahern's office to 30,000 voters in the constituency, urging them give their first preference to the Taoiseach and their second to Brady. Since Ahern was expected to be elected with a large surplus, and the overall Fianna Fáil vote was likely to be large enough to elect two candidates, the destination of the Taoiseach's transfers would determine whether Brady or Fitzpatrick won the second Fianna Fáil seat in Dublin Central. After Ahern's transfers secured Brady's election, Fitzpatrick complained that "I didn't think they'd go out to completely undermine me and shaft me." Ahern's election agent Chris Wall blamed Fitzpatrick, saying "She was asked not to do this sort of thing. Having then done it, she therefore effectively set in train a motion she wasn't going to be able to stop." Brady said "An election is an election and not everybody can win", adding "Mary is a colleague of mine and she is a very good councillor. It's not really fair for Mary to be blaming anybody".
2009 local election
Fitzpatrick was the only Fianna Fáil candidate to be elected on the first count in Dublin in the 2009 local elections. The massive difference between Fitzpatrick's result and that of Maurice Ahern, brother of the former taoiseach who lost his council seat, was viewed as a reaction to perceived unfairness in Fitzpatrick’s treatment by the "Ahern machine" or the "Drumcondra mafia".
2011 general election
In January 2011, she was selected as a Fianna Fáil candidate in Dublin Central for the 2011 general election. Former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who was not running again, said his loyalties this time would be with sitting TD Cyprian Brady and there was no hope of Fianna Fáil winning two seats in the constituency.
During the campaign, former Labour party leader Pat Rabbitte, reacting to her appointment as FF spokesperson on Housing and Urban Development, said "You might as well wander down Grafton Street and see if you can meet a couple of good-looking women and say, 'Would you ever mind coming up for the photograph'." Fitzpatrick relied: "I'm happy to take the compliment of being a good-looking woman any day, particularly from the Opposition. But I do take issue with his dismissive and patronising attitude to the contribution I've made to political life. It is a real shame that when women are given important jobs on their own merits, they have to deal with sexist comments from Pat Rabbitte."
During the campaign the rows between her and Cyprian Brady were widely reported in the media. Suffering from the massive backlash against Fianna Fáil in Dublin she polled 10% of the vote, losing the final seat to Mary Lou McDonald of Sinn Féin.
As part of Micheál Martin's strategy to rebuild a decimated Fianna Fáil party, she was put forward for Seanad election on the Administrative Panel but was not elected. As a consequence of the Seanad “inside/outside” election rules Fitzparick was the highest polling candidate in the 2011 Seanad election not be elected.
2014 European Parliament election
She was selected as the Fianna Fáil candidate for the Dublin constituency at the 2014 European Parliament election. She illegally erected posters too early, causing some controversy when she was accused of flouting regulations.
- "Micheál Martin announces new Fianna Fáil frontbench". Fianna Fáil. 31 January 2011. Archived from the original on 2 February 2011.
- "General Election, 24 May 2007: Dublin Central". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 16 January 2008.
- John Drennan (27 May 2007). "It's a miracle! Bertie raises Cyprian from political tomb". Irish Independent. Retrieved 16 January 2008.
- "1923 General election – Clare". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
- Ronan McGreevy (31 May 2007). "Taoiseach's running mate accuses FF of 'shafting' her". The Irish Times. Retrieved 16 January 2008.
- Colm Kelpie (31 May 2007). "Beaten FF candidate hits out at party 'sabotage' of campaign". Irish Independent. Retrieved 16 January 2008.
- Bernice Harrison (2 June 2007). "With running mate like these…". The Irish Times. Retrieved 16 June 2016.
- "FF candidate says she was sabotaged". The Irish Times. 30 May 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2008.
- Olivia Kelly, "Fianna Fail set to take just six seats", Irish Times, 8 June 2009
- "'Shafted' Mary gets last laugh on Bertie". Irish Independent. 25 January 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
- Gartland, Fiona (25 January 2011). "Fitzpatrick and Brady selected for Dublin Central". The Irish Times. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
- "End of a dynasty as Noel Ahern joins Bertie and heads for exit". Evening Herald. 26 January 2011. Retrieved 26 January 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "Rabbitte sexism row grows despite apology". Evening Herald. 2 February 2011.[permanent dead link]
- "Martin: Rabbitte comments 'dismissive of women'". Irish Examiner. 2 February 2011.
- "Pat Rabbitte accused of sexist comments". RTÉ News. 1 February 2011.
- "FF turn on each other over scraps". Herald.ie. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 27 February 2011.[permanent dead link]
- Michael White in Dublin (25 February 2011). "Irish general election turns into slanging match with parties divided". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
- Kelly, Fiach; Sheahan, Fionnan (30 April 2011). "Fitzpatrick loses yet another tight contest". Irish Independent.
- "Dublin seat shaping up to be the one to watch in the European elections". The Irish Times. 1 February 2014.
- Kelly, Fiach (23 April 2014). "Candidates face €150 fine for each poster put up early". The Irish Times. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
- Hosford, Paul (19 April 2014). "Fianna Fáil candidate accused of "flouting regulations" as election posters go up four days early". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 19 April 2014.