Wednesday 11 December 2019

Aideen Sheehan: Feeney and Hanafin prove there's no such thing as bad publicity

Kate Feeney and (inset) Mary Hanafin on the streets of Blackrock, Co Dublin. Picture: GERRY MOONEY/MARK CONDREN
Kate Feeney and (inset) Mary Hanafin on the streets of Blackrock, Co Dublin. Picture: GERRY MOONEY/MARK CONDREN

It was a good day in Blackrock for Fianna Fáil, as the success  of Mary Hanafin and Kate Feeney proved there's no such thing as bad publicity.

But yesterday's happy ending could lead to headaches for party bosses deciding  which candidate to back in the next general election.

The seasoned oldtimer and the young challenger hoovered up a quarter of first preferences in their ward, with the bitter spat over who should get the nomination prompting a big swing of voters to the party.

Former Minister Mary Hanafin showed she's still a contender by outpolling Ogra Fianna Fáil president Kate Feeney.

Fine Gael saw a drop in support in many areas but party stalwarts such as Marie Baker and father and daughter team John and Maria Bailey still performed strongly.

It was Labour who took the brunt of voter anger with a hit of up  to 15pc to their support although councillors Lettie McCarthy and Carrie Smyth were among those retaining strong support.

People Before Profit councillor Hugh Lewis was delighted to have topped the poll in Killiney-Shankill, with his party  poised to more than double its seats on the council he noted.

Both he and Sinn Fein's Shane O'Brien had polled well with the area's working class voters ahead of the old left "Gilmore-era Labour" he said.

Newcomer Jennifer Cuffe also polled well and celebrated her 28th birthday by looking poised to take a seat for Fianna Fáil  in the Killiney-Shankill ward.

"There's no better birthday present for me than this," she said.

After 19 months of canvassing during which she knocked on over 10,000 doors, the political newcomer declared herself thrilled with result and said she would focus on her work at local level rather than worrying now about stiff competition for contesting the general election.

"You have to start from the bottom up and that's what I'm going to do, who knows what will happen in two years time," she said.



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