Saturday 29 November 2014

Hanafin 'has not heard from Martin' since being elected

Brian Byrne

Published 07/06/2014 | 02:30

Newly elected Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Hanafin in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County for the first meting of the new council.
Pic:Mark Condren
6.6.2014
Newly elected Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Hanafin in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County for the first meting of the new council. Pic:Mark Condren 6.6.2014
Newly elected Fianna Fáil councillor Kate Feeney arriving to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County for the first meting of the new council.

FIANNA Fail leader Micheal Martin has not been in contact with former education minister Mary Hanafin since she won a seat in the local elections.

Ms Hanafin said that she had yet to speak with Mr Martin following her election to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council at its first meeting yesterday.

But the winner of one of two seats in Blackrock restated that she felt no animosity toward Mr Martin and welcomed the party's decision not to take any action over her refusal to withdraw from the race.

Ms Hanafin and Ogra Fianna Fail president Kate Feeney were involved in the infamous Battle of Blackrock, where it appeared the two would battle it out for a single seat at Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

However, Ms Hanafin defied the odds as she managed to win a seat alongside Ms Feeney.

Speaking to the Irish Independent yesterday, Ms Hanafin said she was "thrilled" to take her seat at the first meeting of the council.

She said: "It's a big council so there will be a lot of opposing views and opinions. So I hope we will be able to work in an orderly, manageable way."

Ms Hanafin and Ms Feeney (28), a first-time candidate and Sligo native who works as an accountant in Foxrock, were forced to sit side-by-side at the annual meeting yesterday as it was stipulated councillors had to sit in alphabetical order.

But both of the new councillors appeared to be in high spirits and exchanged pleasantries as they took their seats in the council chamber on Dun Laoghaire's Marine Road.

Dispute

They were seen chatting quietly on a number of occasions throughout the meeting.

Ms Hanafin insisted that the tumultuous elections would not affect her working relationship with Ms Feeney.

She said: "Election campaigns throw up all sorts of divisions. The reality was that at no stage of the campaign did I meet Kate, cut across her or do anything against her, nor she me.

"The dispute was at a national level, but at a local level we will work together."

Ms Hanafin, who lost her Dail seat in the 2011 General Election, decided to contest the Blackrock ward after she said she was contacted by Fianna Fail general secretary Sean Dorgan.

The party then performed an embarrassing U-turn, claiming to have told Ms Hanafin it was no longer considering a two-candidate strategy in the six-seat ward and Ms Feeney would be its only candidate.

Mr Martin failed to convince Ms Hanafin to withdraw her nomination despite three phone calls and claimed the issue was "water under the bridge" after her win.

Irish Independent

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