Wednesday 21 February 2018

Hanafin forgiven by FF leader in nomination row

Daniel McConnell and Aideen Sheehan

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin said he has forgiven Mary Hanafin over the party's botched handling of her nomination.

Both Ms Hanafin and her party rival Kate Feeney were successful in their bid to be elected in the Blackrock ward of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown with the former minister elected on the first count.Ms Hanafin became emotional when the result said she was delighted at being returned to the political stage. Wiping away the tears she told the media she was grateful to those who elected her.

Mr Martin said the bitter conflict over Ms Hanafin's nomination was now "water under the bridge".

Between them, Ms Hanafin and Ms Feeney hoovered up more than a quarter of first preferences in their ward.

Mr Martin said Hanafin's decision to defy the party's wishes "changed the dynamic of the election and galvanised forces there".

"I was told a long time ago that a good row in politics can do wondrous things in the next election," he joked. While he acknowledged that "Mary Hanafin has done well", he made a point of congratulating Ms Feeney, saying he was "delighted" for her and she showed "great courage and great nerve".

"You've been through a baptism of fire and you stood up to it," he said.

Despite stating that he had forgiven her, Mr Martin told RTE that Hanafin will likely still face disciplinary action for going against the party's decision.

Former minister Hanafin outpolled Feeney, who is Ogra FF president.

Ms Hanafin also said the turf war was over and said she was "looking forward to working" with the FF leader.

She was initially asked to run for the party days before the nomination deadline but at the last minute it was decided to run Ms Feeney as the party's only candidate.

Ms Hanafin defied Fianna Fail headquarters and registered as a candidate at the eleventh hour.

Mr Martin called Ms Hanafin three times asking her to withdraw but she ignored his demands.

Fianna Fail then launched an internal investigation into Ms Hanafin's decision to run and it was suggested she might be expelled from the party.

Mr Martin said "every party has internal rows" but insisted the highly publicised controversy was now "water under the bridge".

Sunday Independent

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