Sunday 25 February 2018

Kate Feeney joins Mary Hanafin in Dun Laoghaire

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

Fionnan Sheahan

Kate Feeney has joined her running mate Mary Hanafin on the council as Fianna Fail won both seats in the Battle of Blackrock.

The Ogra Fianna Fail President and the former education minister were locked in a bitter battle for seats in the Blackrock area of Dun Laoghaire County Council.

Ms Hanafin came second in the area, to be elected on the first count, while Ms Feeney came third and was elected on the fifth count.

Ms Hanafin defied the Fianna Fail leadership to remain a candidate, despite efforts to get her to withdraw following her late arrival on the ticket.

Ms Feeney was struggling in early opinion polls in the area.

In a dramatic turnaround, the party has now taken two seats. 

Ms Hanafin has ruled out a post mortem with party leader Micheal Martin into her selection debacle.

While she expressed "full faith" in Mr Martin, Ms Hanafin admitted that the party mishandled her selection to the Fianna Fáil ticket along with Ms Feeney.

But the former minster insisted that she will not be seeking to hold a postmortem with the party hierarchy.

She also said that she will not be taking "any income or allowances" when elected to the council.

Ms Hanafin also refused to rule out a run at the next general election.

‘‘I’m genuinely delighted that having chosen to continue on the path and go before the electorate, that the Blackrock people have faith in me," she said on Newstalk.

‘‘Even at the doors when people were saying to me, ‘‘would you not go independent?’’ and I said this would be completely disingenuous of me because I am what I am…which is Fianna Fail,’’ she said.

‘‘I’ve always said, even after the last election, that I would be interested in a return to national politics. Maybe this is a step in the right direction.’’

She described the local election campaign as a "pleasure" once she got over the "initial difficulties".

Mr Martin has dramatically forgiven Ms Hanafin after the embarrassing internal row over her nomination in the local elections.

Mr Martin said the bitter conflict over Ms Hanafin’s nomination was now “water under the bridge” when asked about her poll results.

Ms Hanafin also said the turf war was now over and said she was “looking forward to working” with the Fianna Fail 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.

But with both Ms Hanafin and Ms Feeney set to take seats, Mr Martin seems to have forgiven the former minister.

Mr Martin said “every party has internal rows” and insisted the highly publicised controversy was now “water under the bridge”.

Ms Hanafin later said it was time to let “bygones be bygones”.

“If we didn’t have two candidates we wouldn’t have two seats,” she added.


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