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Friday 18 April 2014

Fianna Fail old guard gets election green light

Billy Kelleher,Fianna Fail deputy for Cork North-Central  at Leinster Hose yesterday.Pic Tom Burke 27/11/13
Billy Kelleher,Fianna Fail deputy for Cork North-Central. Photo: Tom Burke

FIANNA Fail headquarters will not attempt to stall political comebacks by ex-ministers such as John O'Donoghue, a leading TD has claimed.

The party's health spokesman Billy Kelleher says that it will be up to local branches to decide who will run in forthcoming elections.

His comments come after ex-Tanaiste Mary Coughlan refused to rule out herself out of a political comeback and amid speculation that former Ceann Chomhairle John O'Donoghue is planning a return.

However, Mr Kelleher stopped short of saying that he would welcome them back.

Referring to Mr O'Donoghue, he said: "I can say one thing for sure, the people of Kerry South in terms of the organisation will decide that.

"If the people of Kerry, in terms of the membership select him, then that is the case."

Mr O'Donoghue has made clear his interest in re-entering national politics. He received a standing ovation from grassroots members at a selection convention for the local elections in November.

Mr O'Donoghue resigned as ceann chomhairle over controversy about expenses he had claimed.

Former Tanaiste Mary Coughlan told Radio na Gaeltachta she had not closed the door completely on a return although she acknowledged there was a need for "new blood".

Meanwhile, Independent TD for South Kerry Tom Fleming has denied he is in talks with Fianna Fail about comng back into the fold.

Irish Independent

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