Mary Hanafin: ‘The battle of Blackrock is over. It’s now the battle of Dun Laoghaire’
Former minister says it would be 'disingenuous' of her to run as an independent candidate
Former education minister Mary Hanafin has admitted that eight Fianna Fail councillors are now facing a battle for one Dail seat in the next general election.
Ms Hanafin said a “war” has begun in the Dun Laoghaire ward for a Dail seat, and if she is not elected by her party to run as a Fianna Fail candidate, then she will not run at all.
Last May, Ms Hanafin shocked members of the Fianna Fail party when it emerged she had decided to contest the local elections in the Blackrock ward.
Ms Hanafin submitted her nomination papers after being approached by party general secretary Sean Dorgan who convinced her to run.
But after a backlash from party figures, including the campaign team of her running mate Kate Feeney, the party tried to pull the plug on her election bid.
Ms Hanafin refused and was comfortably elected on the first count – securing the second highest percentage vote of any Fianna Fail local election candidate in Dublin.
“I was a fully nominated Fianna Fail candidate,” she told RTE's Today with Sean O'Rourke this morning.
“That (battle for a seat) was over the minute I won the seat... The battle of Blackrock is well over.”
But she admitted “the battle in Dunlaoghaire” is where "the real war has to be won now in the next general election”.
“There are eight councillors in Dun Laoghaire, all of whom would like to run. I would very strongly run with only one candidate.”
Ms Hanafin said she will not consider running as an independent candidate next year.
“[We are] stuck in the opinion polls, maybe not quite as stuck on the ground as we saw in the last general election... We are the largest party now in local government.”
“The next election is not about me... If I am not elected to run for Fianna Fail, no I will not run as an independent. That would be entirely disingenuous of me.”