Micheal Martin visits John O'Donoghue's home patch – but no reunion
THEY were in his home town but there was no joyful reunion between Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin and former ceann comhairle John O'Donoghue.
Mr Martin was canvassing in Cahirsiveen, Co Kerry, with local election candidate Norma Moriarty, the woman selected to replace Mr O'Donoghue's brother Paul in May's election.
Passing John O'Donoghue's solicitor's practice on Main Street, the leader stopped and said to the candidate: "Norma, we'll just call in to say hello."
However, he quickly had to retreat on discovering the office door was closed – not unusual in the south Kerry town on Thursday, the traditional half-day. "John's in Dublin doing his exams," explained a local party member helpfully.
Mr O'Donoghue is sitting his bar exams at the moment, which will qualify him to work as a barrister. This was also said to be the reason why he was absent from the recent FF ard fheis in Killarney.
Locally, Mr O'Donoghue, who was forced to resign as ceann comhairle over a controversy about his expenses, has made no secret of his wish to make a return to national politics.
He declined to step into the breach created by his younger brother's shock decision not to contest the local elections again in May, severing the family's link to Kerry County Council that dates back more than 50 years.
Both their parents had also represented the Cahirsiveen area since 1960.
Mr O'Donoghue contested the last general election in the South Kerry constituency in 2011 but failed to win one of three seats.
Next time round, north and south will combine to become one five-seat constituency. He is currently the public relations officer for Fianna Fail in Kerry.
Mr Martin appeared a little peeved when asked if he'd welcome his former cabinet colleague's return to the national stage: "I've made my position crystal clear on umpteen occasions about that.
"As a political party we're democratic and the selection conventions will choose who goes forward."