Friday 26 December 2014

Awkward... Fianna Fail's Mary Hanafin and Kate Feeney sit beside each other at first council meeting

Published 06/06/2014 | 13:40

Mary Hanafin and Kate Feeney
Mary Hanafin and Kate Feeney
Newly elected Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Hanafin arriving to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for the first meeting of the new council. Picture: Mark Condren
Mary Hanafin hugs her mother Mona after winning a seat at the local elections
Kate Feeney is cheered by her supporters after winning her seat in the Blackrock area of Dun Laoghaire County Council. Photo: Michael Chester
Kate Feeney and (inset) Mary Hanafin on the streets of Blackrock, Co Dublin. Picture: GERRY MOONEY/MARK CONDREN
Kate Feeney on the streets of Blackrock, Co Dublin. Picture: GERRY MOONEY.
TAKING SIDES: Former minister David Andrews shows his support for Kate Feeney. Photo: Conor McCabe
Fianna Fail Local Election Candidate for Blackrock Kate Feeney and canvassers meet shoppers. The local election candidate has been advised to steer clear of rival Mary Hanafin. Picture: Conor McCabe
Mary Hanafin pictured at the count in Citywest
Mary Hanafin pictured afer her election at the count in City west. Picture; GERRY MOONEY. 24/5/14
Micheal Martin with Mary Hanafin at the Fianna Fail Ard Fheis in 2008.
Mary Hanafin

FORMER education minister Mary Hanafin and her Fianna Fáil local election rival Kate Feeney were forced to sit side-by-side at the first meeting of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown county council today.

The council's annual meeting stipulated that all councillors must sit in alphabetical order.

However, both of the new councillors appeared to be in high spirits and exchanged pleasantries as they took their seats.

The pair were seen chatting quietly on a number of occasions throughout the meeting in the council chamber on Dun Laoghaire's Marine Road.

Ms Hanafin, the former education minister, and Ms Feeney, the Ogra Fianna Fail President, were involved in the infamous Battle of Blackrock where both won seats for Fianna Fail.

Fianna Fáil has officially decided not to be take any action against Mary Hanafin over her refusal to withdraw as a candidate in the local elections.

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Mary Hanafin

Councillors are obliged to sit in assigned seats for the first meeting because the deliberations are broadcast and names are matched to microphones.

At further meetings, the seating is rearranged in whatever way the parties want with the group leader usually sitting in the most prominent place alongside senior councillors.

Fianna Fail's rules and procedures committee met this week to discuss the issue around Ms Hanafin's defiance of the party hierarchy in refusing to pull out of the local elections.

A Fianna Fáil spokesman commented: "The Ard Chomhairle’s Rules and Procedures Committee met yesterday and considered the matter.

NWS_2014-05-11_NEW_001_31640277_I1.JPG 

Kate Feeney

"While the committee was disappointed at the decision of Mary Hanafin to proceed to contest the election despite the expressed wishes of the party's candidate-ratifying process and procedures, they took all circumstances into account. 

"As the voters in the Blackrock LEA elected both Councillors Kate Feeney and Mary Hanafin the Committee now considers the matter closed."

Irish Independent

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