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Boxer's son will put up tough battle in his tilt at the big title

FIANNA Fail leadership challenger Micheal Martin lists an extensive CV during his 25-year political career.

The former teacher held Cabinet posts in foreign affairs, enterprise, trade and employment, health, and education shortly after he first entered national politics in 1989.

Before that, on a local level, Mr Martin (50) was elected to Cork Corporation and served as Lord Mayor between 1992-93.

The son of an Irish international boxer, Paddy Martin, and Eileen 'Lana' Corbett, he was brought up in Turners Cross, Cork.

A past pupil of Colaiste Chriost Ri, Cork, Mr Martin is a graduate of UCC where he got first-class honours in an MA in political history.

He met his wife, Mary O'Shea, while at UCC -- she now lectures in public administration there.

The first major battle of his political career came when he faced down the teachers' unions in 2000 as Minister for Education.

He refused to bend under the pressure and despite days lost to striking teachers, shepherding in a 45pc increase in funding for education during his tenure.

He nurtured an emphasis on partnership and consultation between the unions and the Government throughout his time in the Department of Education.

The Fianna Fail stalwart went on to be Minister for Health for four years from 2000 and then to Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment from 2004.

In 2008, he became Minister for Foreign Affairs.

In November last year he dealt with personal tragedy when he buried his youngest daughter Leana (7) after a long illness.

He said he and his wife, Mary, sons Micheal Aodh (16) and Cillian (10), and daughter Aoibhe (14), were heartbroken at Laana's death, but said that she had shown great courage with a heart condition.


The Martins had already suffered a tragic bereavement when their six-week-old son, Ruairi, died in 1999.

After this, he retreated from public life for a time. Mr Martin is no stranger to controversy.

In October last year it was revealed that a hotel suite for minister Micheal Martin cost the taxpayer more than €1,900 a night, records have shown.

The room, which came to a cost of €3,843 over two nights, ranks as probably the most expensive room ever booked on behalf of a Government minister.