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22/10/2021

Carlow's new TD Jennifer Murnane O'Connor is to take her seat in the Dáil this week

Carlow/Kilkenny constituency made history with two women elected

Carlow Carlow Carlow

Newly elected Jennifer Murnane O’Connor with her daughter Hazel McWey PICTURE: Vicky Comerford

Carlow's new TD Jennifer Murnane O'Connor is to take her seat in the Dáil this week.

For the first time in electoral history the constituency of Carlow/Kilkenny has two women TDs - Kathleen Funchion of Sinn Féin and Jennifer Murnane O’Connor of Fianna Fáil.

It is also the first time a woman has been re-elected to represent this constituency.

Only four women have ever been elected from this constituency.

The first woman elected for Carlow/Kilkenny was Mary White of the Green Party, in 2007. She served until the election of 2011.

Labour Party candidate Ann Phelan was elected in 2011, and served until the last general election in 2016.

In that election of 2016 Kathleen Funchion was first elected for Sinn Féin. She has since been re-elected, making history.

Not only did Deputy Funchion hold on to her seat in Dáil Eireann, the first woman to do so in Carlow Kilkenny, but she topped the poll with an impressive first preference majority.

It's not Kathleen Funchion's first time making history in this area. When she was first elected to Kilkenny Borough Council in 2009 she became the first Sinn Féin councillor in the city since 1923.

She stood in three general elections before being elected to the Dáil in 2016.

The second woman elected in Carlow/Kilkenny is Jennifer Murnane O’Connor of Fianna Fáil. Previously a member of the Oireachtas as a senator (she was elected on the Labour panel in 2016), Deputy Murnane O’Connor is a first time TD.

She first ran for the Dáil in 2011, when she polled 6% of the first preference vote in Carlow/Kilkenny for Fianna Fáil. She also ran in the general election of 2016 when she narrowly missed out on being elected, she was the last candidate eliminated.

Deputy Murnane O’Connor also became a member of Carlow County Council in 1999, when she was co-opted on the retirement of her father Jimmy.

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