Tuesday 23 December 2014

Inquiry over Hanafin election move

Published 06/05/2014 | 16:47

Mary Hanafin has been accused of defying the party leadership
Mary Hanafin has been accused of defying the party leadership

A former Fianna Fail minister who lost her Dail seat when the country went bankrupt is at the centre of an internal disciplinary inquiry over her decision to run for election again.

Mary Hanafin has been accused of defying the party leadership after refusing to step aside and let a rising star in the ranks a free run at a council seat in south Dublin.

The unedifying row in the Blackrock ward was sparked after the former education minister claimed she was asked to put her name forward last Wednesday to try to win a second seat in the area.

Fianna Fail then told the coalition ally of former taoiseach Brian Cowen that she should not stand even though she had signed nomination papers.

Party leader Micheal Martin said his former cabinet colleague had ignored internal selection rules, refused to respect the ratification process and defied the party.

"It was with great disappointment that we learned that Mary Hanafin, a party member of many years' standing, chose to ignore Fianna Fail's well understood and long standing ratification process," he said.

Mr Martin said the one-time deputy leader of Fianna Fail, a TD for Dun Laoghaire from 1997-2011, had been given very clear instructions that only one candidate would stand in Blackrock, Kate Feeney, Ogra Fianna Fail president.

"These processes have been employed to select more than 410 candidates across the country to contest the local elections," he said.

"Of central importance is that candidates and potential candidates respect these procedures and rules and accept the fact that they apply to all candidates equally."

Mr Martin has referred Ms Hanafin's decision to run for election for the first time since 2011 to the rules and procedures committee of the party's ard chomhairle.

He said: "In the meantime, the party will continue to campaign for the properly ratified candidate in Blackrock, Kate Feeney. Kate, the directly elected president of Ogra Fianna Fail, is a new voice in politics and will make an excellent councillor if elected."

The nomination of Ms Hanafin - one of several high-profile Fianna Fail departures from politics in 2010 and 2011 after Ireland was forced to seek an international bailout - has caused a massive rift in the party.

Ms Hanafin said she re-entered politics and lodged nomination papers for the local elections after being contacted by party general secretary Sean Dorgan.

She claimed to have been given polling estimates that suggested Fianna Fail could take two seats in Blackrock and denied suggestions she was muscling in on Ms Feeney's popularity.

Press Association

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