Wednesday 29 March 2017

Longford/ WestmeathPolitics no longer running in family as 'Mammy' out

Gareth Naughton and Fiach Kelly

THE LENIHAN Fianna Fail dynasty was dealt a major blow as Mary O'Rourke bowed out of politics after a crushing defeat in Longford-Westmeath.

Ms O'Rourke, aunt of Brian and Conor Lenihan, saw her vote collapse by 10pc from 2007 as she received just 3,046 first- preference votes.

Conor Lenihan also failed to get elected in Dublin South-West, while Brian hung on to his seat in Dublin West.

Ms O'Rourke -- who has been a TD since 1982, apart from spending five years in the Seanad -- announced her retirement at the count centre in Kenagh, Co Longford, on Saturday. She also ruled out a tilt at the presidency.

"I am not interested in the presidency," Ms O'Rourke -- nicknamed 'Mammy' -- said.

She said she intends to write a novel, make media appearances, and act in an advisory capacity to Fianna Fail as the party tries to rebuild itself after what her nephew Brian called an electoral "massacre".

The Lenihan family is steeped in the party, and her brother Brian senior -- father of Conor and Brian junior -- served in numerous cabinet positions as well as Tanaiste. Her father, Paddy Lenihan, was a TD for Longford-Westmeath between 1965 and 1970.

Party activists in the four-seat constituency were blaming Ms O'Rourke's defeat on the decision of former Fianna Fail councillor Kevin 'Boxer' Moran' to run as an independent, as Mr Moran ate into Ms O'Rourke's core vote.

As expected, Labour's Willie Penrose topped the poll with 11,406 first preferences, just 100 short of the quota.

Irish Independent Supplement

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