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FF draws up shortlist as Woods finally bows out

THE news that Michael Woods is retiring is not a surprise for Fianna Fail -- given that he reached the pension age 10 years go.

Indeed, the only surprise was when the 75-year-old former minister decided to run at all in the 2007 General Election.

But it is still not yet clear who Fianna Fail will replace him with as the candidate for this year's General Election in the three-seater of Dublin North-East.

Former Fianna Fail TD, Senator Martin Brady, councillor Tom Brabazon and Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin's adviser, Averil Power, are on the shortlist of replacements.

The party will run either one or two candidates to defend the seat.

Labour's Tommy Broughan is still leading the charge for his party, while Sinn Fein's Larry O'Toole will again challenge after coming close on previous occasions.

FG TD Terence Flanagan, who has highlighted the many housing problems in the constituency, is the only candidate for his party. The Green Party's David Healy is also expected to line out.

Irish Independent