Fianna Fáil's political dynasties line up to back Hanafin's rival
Published 25/01/2016 | 02:30
Fianna Fáil's political dynasties are lining up to give their backing to Mary Hanafin's running mate.
Former ministers Mary O'Rourke and David Andrews both attended the campaign launch of Dún Laoghaire councillor Cormac Devlin over the weekend, with Ms O'Rourke confirming she urged voters to give him their number one.
There has been intense party rivalry in the Dún Laoghaire constituency since Ms Hanafin's re-emergence before the last local elections.
On that occasion, she entered an often bitter battle with newcomer Kate Feeney - although both ended up getting elected to the council.
Ms Feeney's mother, Geraldine, a former senator, also attended Mr Devlin's launch on Saturday. She is a cousin of ex-taoiseach Brian Cowen's wife, Mary, who last week launched an online attack on Ms Hanafin, saying party leader Micheál Martin "better watch his back" due to Ms Hanafin's lack of loyalty.
Speaking to the Irish Independent, Ms O'Rourke said she attended the event in the Royal Marine Hotel in a "very open sense".
She predicted that Fianna Fáil could take one of the three available seats in the constituency, where the sittings TDs include Fine Gael's Mary Mitchell O'Connor and People Before Profit's Richard Boyd Barrett.
"I said there are two candidates running and people should give their number one to Cormac Devlin - and for Fianna Fáil supporters they should ask that they continue their preference for number two," she said.
Ms O'Rourke said there was a marvellous crowd at the event, which is just one of many that she is attending around the country in advance of the election.
She is helping a significant number of Fianna Fáil female candidates, but has also backed a number of men - including Paul McAuliffe in Dublin North West, Jim O'Callaghan in Dublin South East and Jack Chambers in Dublin West - and said: "I like being involved."
Mr Devlin said he was delighted to have the support of the Fianna Fáil stalwarts at the event in the Royal Marine Hotel.
"Obviously, I was delighted to have two political giants, as they are, come out and endorse my candidacy," he said.
Ms Hanafin was added to the election ticket after initially losing out to Mr Devlin in a tight selection convention.