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Martin's home base a deep well of support

MICHEAL Martin's nickname among childhood friends is 'Ducky', but his constituency colleague was the one ducking and diving in Cork yesterday.

Fianna Fail TD Michael McGrath was the most prominent of the Cork TDs not to say where he stood on the leadership battle. The Cork South-Central TD will be the running mate of the Foreign Affairs Minister in the general election.

Batt O'Keeffe was the only local TD to publicly back Taoiseach Brian Cowen in today's motion of confidence.

Mr O'Keeffe is a former constituency colleague of Mr Martin, but is known to be a close friend of the Taoiseach and was advising him on his strategy.

Junior Trade Minister Billy Kelleher was the first minister to back Mr Martin publicly and he offered his resignation.

Fianna Fail TD Michael Moynihan, a constituency colleague of Mr O'Keeffe, also weighed in behind Mr Martin.

Noel O'Flynn and Ned O'Keeffe reiterated their support for Mr Martin. Former junior minister Michael Ahern and fellow backbencher Christy O'Sullivan did not state their intentions either but the latter expressed strong support for Mr Cowen at the weekend.

Irish Independent