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Enda and Lucinda bury the hatchet

IS A Fine Gael Christmas miracle in the offing?

Party leader Enda Kenny and rebel backbencher Lucinda Creighton have put their well-publicised differences to one side for a festive reunion.

The Herald can reveal that the politicians, who have rarely spoken since the bitter heave against Kenny last June, hosted a public meeting together this week.

A source said: "Enda was invited to the meeting in Lucinda's constituency and has happily accepted. Hopefully it will pave the way for a thawing of the relationship between Lucinda and the party hierarchy."

More than 200 people showed up to witness the rivals outline Fine Gael's plans for dealing with the economic crisis, just days after Deputy Creighton confirmed that she will run in Dublin South East in the upcoming election.

Sources said that two-thirds of those who showed up at The Hampton Hotel were not party members.

The young Dublin TD has repeatedly clashed with the party, most recently when she threatened to abstain on the Budget vote to ensure it passed.

The move would have put her political future in doubt as she would have lost the party whip and had to fight the election as an independent.

But now both sides appear to have agreed on a fresh start heading into 2011.

In a letter sent to constituents, Deputy Creighton said that the leader would give a speech in Donnybrook to outline "what a new Fine Gael Government can achieve and how we will restore certainty, hope and opportunity to this country". The letter states that the past month "has been one of the most difficult and turbulent times in our country's history.

"It is now vital that we begin to focus our energies on implementing solutions to rebuild our economy, our country and our society."

She adds that Mr Kenny's attendance at the public meeting in The Hampton Hotel was part of "our Dublin wide promotion of Fine Gael and our policies".

"We want to hear your opinions and share our ideas about what a new Fine Gael government can do to rebuild our economy and fix our broken political system."