Friday 24 November 2017

Hanafin will not contest Seanad seat with brother

ine Kerr Political Correspondent

FIANNA Fail deputy leader Mary Hanafin, right, last night dramatically announced she will not contest the Seanad elections -- signalling an end to any immediate frontline role in politics.

The former Education, Social Welfare and Tourism Minister said she could not contest the elections as she would be competing against her brother, Senator John Hanafin, for the same pool of votes.

The decision marks the end, for now, to Ms Hanafin's frontline public role in Fianna Fail after she lost her seat in Dun Laoghaire to the People Before Profit's Richard Boyd-Barrett.

However, the high-profile former TD did not rule out running in the next general election.

Her decision came as the provisional list for Seanad nominations was published last night.

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin was anxious to get Ms Hanafin to run, alongside a range of young and rising stars who will help rebuild the party.

Older Fianna Fail senators, who Mr Martin had hoped might step aside, featured on last night's list -- but they are not guaranteed his support when it comes to advising councillors countrywide on how to vote.

Another list of party candidates will be announced next week as is the norm.

Mr Martin will also have to appoint a new deputy party leader in the coming weeks.

Ms Hanafin said she could not compete for a Seanad seat when her brother is also trying to retain his seat.


"My brother John is a senator since 2002 on the Labour panel so obviously it wouldn't be possible for the two of us to do it. I'm happy to work to reorganise the party anyway in Dublin South, Dun Laoghaire, south city, that whole area. He is going to work towards that in Tipperary as well," she told the Irish Independent.

The former minister told Mr Martin she would do "whatever is necessary" in a voluntary capacity to help rebuild the party.

"He [Mr Martin] was obviously anxious that I would run because of the whole Dublin, female, media thing ... .but it's just not possible. It's not like running in two different Dail constituencies. The Seanad is the same electorate," Ms Hanafin added.

On last night's published list of candidates from designated nominating bodies, over 17 Fianna Fail names featured -- including the son of former Fianna Fail backbencher Noel O'Flynn.

Mr O'Flynn bowed out of politics at the start of the general election campaign after Mr Martin raised concerns about the two-candidate strategy in Cork North Central.

Around 43 of the 60 senators are elected by senators, TDs and councillors -- with the remaining 11 chosen by the Taoiseach. The ballots for the election are set to be issued on April 7 and the poll closes on April 26.

Irish Independent

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