Kate O'Connell lays into Fine Gael in explosive Claire Byrne interview
"You're not from here, you’re from the country and we don’t like the cut of your jib."
Former Fine Gael TD Kate O'Connell has said she will not contest the Dublin Bay South by-election because the party has made it clear that she is not their desired candidate.
The seat is up for grabs following the recent resignation of Eoghan Murphy, who left to pursue a career in international relations.
Speaking on Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1, O'Connell said her support of Simon Coveney in the Fine Gael leadership contest meant that she was alienated by Leo Varadkar and his supporters.
O'Connelll said that her relationship with Varadkar “never recovered” after her backing of Coveney.
"I think it is interesting that in the aftermath of the leadership [contest] - not myself because I hadn't any position at the time - but it was predominantly women that supported the person that didn't win the leadership that lost their positions," she said.
"No man was demoted as a result of the leadership battle."
She said that she had “no problem” with Varadkar as leader but commented that he led Fine Gael to their worst election result in three quarters of a century in the 2020 General Election.
She continued to outline how she had been mocked by some of her party colleagues for being from Westmeath.
"At one Fine Gael meeting just after the [leadership contest between Varadkar and Coveney], and it was supposed to be a social event, and part of my team arrived before me because I was at a committee," O'Connell said.
"Somebody had actually gone to the effort of getting a sod of turf and putting it into her handbag and she was going to present it to me in front of people at the meeting.
“That mightn’t seem that serious but it was designed to diminish - ‘you’re not from here, you’re from the country and we don’t like the cut of your jib', as it were."
She also said there were discussions in the party about putting a sign outside her pharmacy pointing towards the M50 saying "Westmeath this way".
The interview can be listened to in full here.