TWO-time Fine Gael candidate Julie O’Leary has pulled out of the race for a Dáil seat in Cork North Central at the next general election.
Following her failure to win a seat in Cork City North-West at the recent local election, the barrister is taking up a new role as legal services manager for Nasc, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre.
She was added to Fine Gael’s Cork North Central general election ticket last summer alongside Senator Colm Burke, who is now the sole Fine Gael candidate in the constituency.
Ms O’Leary said that this is a “pause” in her political career and vowed to stay active on issues in Cork.
“While this is a pause on my involvement in electoral politics, it is certainly not the end and is perhaps just the end of the beginning.
“I will remain a member of Fine Gael and will continue to support important causes in Cork like high rise buildings and high-density housing, Save Cork City, the Cork Cycling Campaign and the Glen River parkrun, and whatever else might come across my desk.
“I’ve also recently become involved in Cork City Community Radio and look forward to interrogating many politicians of all colours on the air in the future, so stay tuned,” she said.
Since qualifying as a barrister, Ms O’Leary has worked with migrants and refugees on visas and citizenship rights, leading her to the job with Nasc.
“Nasc has a number of ongoing projects in employment and integration and at the moment are supporting the community in St Luke’s who are planning to sponsor a refugee family to come and live in Cork.
“Nasc’s legal service last year supported over 1,300 clients, and I look forward to using all my legal and political skill to both support individuals requiring assistance and to advocate for positive changes to our immigration and asylum systems,” she said.
Ms O’Leary was a last-minute addition to the Fine Gael ticket in 2016, joining incumbent TD Dara Murphy just weeks out from the general election.
She got 3,841 votes in that election, outpolling sitting Labour TD Kathleen Lynch, but was eliminated on the tenth count, which put Mr Murphy over the line.
She polled 701 votes in the local elections and lasted until the final count but was not elected.