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Power couple eye ultimate political prize

Barry Egan


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TEAM: Micheal and Mary Martin, married for 30 years. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

TEAM: Micheal and Mary Martin, married for 30 years. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

TEAM: Micheal and Mary Martin, married for 30 years. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Mary and Micheal Martin are on the brink of achieving something they have been striving towards together for a long time. At an intimate dinner with them in Cork four years ago, their commitment to each other was plain to see. What was also clear was that theirs is a marriage of political beliefs as well as hearts.

During that dinner at Barry's in Douglas, they had each other's back. Asked about her husband's mood as leader of Fianna Fail when the party took a hiding at the 2011 election, Mary said: "I would say he is a glass half-full merchant."

They both needed to draw on that view of life when Leana, their seven-year-old daughter, died tragically in late 2010 from a cardiac condition that had developed suddenly; their son, Ruairi, had died in infancy years before. At Barry's that night, Mary became emotional, even angry, when she talked about children "who had their discretionary medical cards taken off them" by Enda Kenny's government. It was, she said, "probably the worst thing they did. It was scandalous".