Averil Power

Averil Power (born 26 July 1978) is an Irish former politician who served as a Senator for the Industrial and Commercial Panel from 2011 to 2016.[1][2] She first held office as a member of Fianna Fáil, but left the party in 2015 and sat in the Seanad as an Independent for the rest of her term. She stood as an independent candidate for Dáil Éireann at the 2016 general election, but was not elected.

Averil Power
Averil Power 2.jpg
In office
24 April 2011 – 27 April 2016
ConstituencyIndustrial and Commercial Panel
Personal details
Averil Power

(1978-07-26) 26 July 1978 (age 43)
Raheny, Dublin, Ireland
Political partyIndependent (since 2015)
Other political
Fianna Fáil (until 2015)
Spouse(s)Fionnan Sheahan
Alma materTrinity College Dublin

Early lifeEdit

She grew up in a council estate and is the first person in her family to finish school and go to college.[3]

She has a degree in Business, Economics and Social Science from Trinity College Dublin, where she was elected to the positions of President (2001–02) and Education Officer (2000–01) of Trinity College Dublin Students' Union.[4] She also has a Diploma in Legal Studies from Honorable Society of Kings Inns and is a graduate of the Boston College Political Leadership Programme.[5] She unsuccessfully contested election for President of the Union of Students in Ireland in March 2002, losing out to DIT student Colm Jordan.[6]

Political careerEdit


Power first sought election to public office at the 2009 local and European elections, contesting election for Fianna Fáil in the Howth-Malahide local electoral area of Fingal County Council. She was unsuccessful, coming seventh with 7.46% of the vote.[7] During this period she was employed as a political adviser by Minister Mary Hanafin in the Departments of Tourism, Social and Family Affairs and Education on a salary reported to be €100,191 per year plus pension contribution.[8][9][10] She remained a political adviser to Hanafin until the 2011 general election.[11]


In February 2011, before the general election, Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin appointed Power directly to his Front Bench, in doing so breaking the convention that members of the Front Bench hold elected office.[12] Power contested the Dublin North-East constituency at the 2011 general election but was not elected. In a three-seat constituency, she polled fourth on the first count, receiving 4,794 first preference votes (11.5%).[13]

In March 2011, following on from this failure to secure a seat in a general election, Micheál Martin nominated Power via the Oireachtas panel to contest the 2011 Seanad election on the Industrial and Commercial Vocational Panel.[14] She was elected, polling 75 votes.[15]


On 25 May 2015, Power announced that she was leaving the Fianna Fáil party, citing disagreements over how they had handled the same-sex marriage referendum.[16][17]

In December 2015, Power caused controversy when it emerged she had used taxpayers money to print 73,000 calendars that were to be distributed throughout her constituency just weeks before the 2016 general election.[18]

She was again unsuccessful in her bid to be elected to the Dáil at the 2016 general election, this time running in the newly created Dublin Bay North constituency.[19]

In August 2016, the Asthma Society of Ireland announced that Power was taking up a €95,000 a year position as the charity's chief executive officer. [20] In January 2018, she was appointed as the CEO of the Cancer Society of Ireland.[21]


Power is interested in education, social justice, mental health and LGBT equality. She was awarded a GALA for 'Politician of the Year' by the National LGBT Federation in 2014.[22] She also produced policy papers on youth mental health[23] and increasing female representation in politics.[24]

She has talked about being an adopted person and wants all Irish adoptees to have a right to their birth certs.[25] She has an interest in development issues and volunteered in Mozambique with Voluntary Service Overseas in August 2011.[26] She also visited the Occupied Palestinian territories with Christian Aid in 2013 and is a vocal advocate of the rights of the Palestinian people. She proposed a motion recognizing the State of Palestine which was passed by the Irish Senate in October 2014.[27] She is a Jury member for the global Frontline Defenders human rights awards.[28]

Personal lifeEdit

She is separated from Fionnan Sheahan, who edits the Irish Independent.[29]


  1. ^ "Averil Power". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 5 November 2011.
  2. ^ "Senators elected to the new Seanad". RTÉ News. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  3. ^ "A new voice, working for the people of Dublin North East". Fianna Fáil. Archived from the original on 2011-05-17.
  4. ^ "Discrepancies in TCD Exams". Irish Independent, February 07, 2001; P: 4.
  5. ^ "Linkedin Averil Power".
  6. ^ "New Leader for Students' Union". Irish Independent, March 21, 2002; P: 43.
  7. ^ "Local Elections 2009". Elections Ireland.
  8. ^ "Teacher's Pet". The Irish Times. 27 March 2012. Retrieved 30 March 2012.
  9. ^ "Advisers to Minister Mary Hanafin". Sunday Independent, December 20, 2009; P: 1.
  10. ^ "Taxpayer to foot €10m wages bill for advisers". Sunday Independent, July 27, 2008; P1.
  11. ^ "FF draws up shortlist as Woods bows out". Irish Independent, January 07, 2011; Section: News.
  12. ^ "Martin stands by his promotion of 14 rookies to new-look frontbench". Irish Independent, Tuesday, February 01, 2011; Section: News.
  13. ^ "Averil Power". ElectionsIreland.org. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  14. ^ "Martin plans purge of older senators to freshen party image". Irish Independent, March 02, 2011; P1.
  15. ^ "Industrial and Commercial Panel". Elections Ireland.
  16. ^ "Fianna Fáil's Averil Power to leave party".
  17. ^ "Averil Power quits Fianna Fáil party". RTÉ News. 25 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Averil Power: €2.7k print run of 73,000 calendars 'nothing to do with the election'". 23 December 2015.
  19. ^ "Irish Times: 2016 Election results for Dublin Bay North".
  20. ^ "Averil Power rules out running in next general election". 12 August 2016.
  21. ^ "Our leadership". 29 October 2019.
  22. ^ "GALA".
  23. ^ "Fianna Fail National Youth Mental Health Strategy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-12-09.
  24. ^ "Fianna Fail Gender Equality Plan 2013-2018".
  25. ^ "Petition for The Minister for Children & The Irish Government to Give All Irish Adoptees Rights to Birth Certs".
  26. ^ "Averil to spend summer recess in Mozambique". Fingal Independent. 3 August 2011. Retrieved 9 June 2012.
  27. ^ "Irish Times : Seanad Motion Urging Recognition for State of Palestine Agreed".
  28. ^ "Front Line Defenders facebook post".
  29. ^ "Miriam Lord's Week". The Irish Times. 2 April 2011. Retrieved 30 April 2011.

External linksEdit