‘I ignored that text’

Kate OConnell has accused Leo Varadkar of ordering her to stay out of the media in return for a Seanad seat.
She said she ignored his order and that subsequently he never gave her the Seanad seat that he had the power to give.
The former Fine Gael TD launched a blistering attack on her old boss, Mr Varadkar, after confirming that she will not be running in the upcoming Dublin Bay South by-election.
The outspoken TD went against Mr Varadkar in the party leadership race three years ago, siding with Simon Coveney instead.
She famously called Mr Varadkars supporters choir boys during that contest.
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She said she believes this may have been the cause of the animosity against her that emerged in the party after Mr Varadkar became leader.
Ms OConnell opened up to Claire Byrne in an interview on RTE Radio.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Fine Gael ministers and colleagues (L to R) Kate O’Connell, Frances Fitzgerald and Catherine Noone during a final Fine Gael doorstep calling for a Yes vote on the Eighth Amendment at Merrion Square West, Dublin on May 24, 2018 (Image: Gareth Chaney/Collins)
She told the show that there were promises made that she would be one of the 10 Taoiseachs and Tánaistes picks for the Seanad – so not to bother running in the wider Seanad election.
Ms OConnell said: It was indicated to me that I shouldnt seek an internal nomination, that the party was lining me up for an internal nomination.
The advice was that between then, I think that was March or April (when she lost her Dáil seat last year) and when the Government was formed in the summer, that I should stay off the media.
Ms OConnell added: I just ignored that text.
I continued doing what I was doing (appearing in the media), but that was as a professional, as a pharmacist, not as a commentator.
01/04/2021 Tanaiste Leo Varadkar TD at the Convention Centre, Dublin. (Image: Collins Photo Agency)
Its interesting to see from the internal panels 12 men were elected for Fine Gael, so there was a desire and it was well known that the four Taoiseach nominees would be females to try and address the balance of the 12 men.
And there was an anticipation there that I was one of the four – and I wasnt.
Ms OConnell is still a Fine Gael member, but she said that the relationship with Leo cant be repaired.
She said that it never recovered after she sided with Mr Coveney in the leadership battle.