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Monday 22 January 2018

Brian's sister may run for 'Lenihan family seat'

Anita Lenihan, the late Brian Lenihan's sister. Picture: Tom Burke
Anita Lenihan, the late Brian Lenihan's sister. Picture: Tom Burke

Daniel McConnell, Political Correspondent

FIANNA Fail is considering running the sister of former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan in the by-election for the seat he once occupied, the Irish Independent can reveal.

Senior party sources have confirmed that Anita Lenihan is seen as the ideal candidate to stand in the pending election caused by the resignation of Independent TD Patrick Nulty.

Her brother Brian held the seat in Dublin from 1996 until the time of his death in June 2011. He was first elected following the death of his father, former Tanaiste Brian Lenihan Sr, who had represented the constituency since 1977.


"There is a strong desire to have a Lenihan on the ticket, given the history there," one senior source said.

She was encouraged to run in 2011 – but sources have said she was reluctant to put her name forward at that time. However she has been very involved in the local Fianna Fail organisation in Dublin West.

Her aunt, former Minister Mary O'Rourke, told the Irish Independent that Anita Lenihan "would be a very fine candidate" for Dublin West.

Meanwhile, in a significant development at a meeting of the Fianna Fail front bench last Tuesday, John McGuinness TD raised the issue of the Dublin West by election.

Sources at the meeting have said that Mr McGuinness asked the leadership whether the party's candidate would be sitting Mulhuddart councillor, David McGuinness. Cllr McGuinness contested the 2011 by election for the Lenihan seat, finishing second behind Mr Nulty, then a Labour candidate.

"There was silence when the question was asked, leading us to believe that he is not getting the nod this time around," one source at the meeting said.

It has been suggested that former junior minister Conor Lenihan may run, with recent speculation that he wants a return to politics.

It is now deemed unlikely that the poll would be held on May 23, the same day as the Local and European elections.

Mr Nulty dramatically resigned his seat on March 22 after he admitted sending inappropriate messages via social media to a 17-year-old girl, while under the influence of alcohol.

It is also unlikely that the Longford-Westmeath by-election, caused by the death of Fine Gael TD Nicky McFadden, will happen in May, and is more likely to be in the autumn.

Irish Independent

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