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I'll get FF rejects into Seanad, vows Martin

Fianna Fail will attempt to flood the Seanad with its election rejects after its poll thrashing.

The Herald can exclusively reveal that leader Michael Martin will offer a string of party failures, including Averil Power, Mary Fitzpatrick and even Mary Hanafin, plum political posts in spite of their rejection by the Irish people.

A string of Fianna Failers will be rewarded with a €70,000-a-year consolation prize.

Mr Martin told the Herald: "We will have to ensure that active people who are anxious to play a part in politics ... will be elected to the Seanad. In particular young people and women who want to fight elections in the future would be an immediate priority of mine."

Others such as Mary Coughlan, John O'Donoghue and Pat Carey are set for massive severance windfalls that will cost taxpayers up to €60m.

Coughlan, who has been a TD for 24 years, will get a TD pension of €49,200 and ministerial pension of €54,315 when she turns 50 in five years time.

She will also get a pension lump sum of €148,000.

She will get a termination payment of €16,404 tax free and further payments worth over €61,000 in the coming year.

O'Donoghue, the former Ceann Comhairle who was forced to resign, will get a package worth €334,000.

As Fianna Fail no longer have a single female TD, Mr Martin said that he would be particularly "anxious" to "redress that balance significantly" in the Seanad, which Fine Gael has promised to abolish.


"I intend to do that by putting women forward for the Seanad elections and convincing councillors that it's very important."

Asked about the wipeout in Dublin where Brian Lenihan is the last man standing, Mr Martin compared the situation to Fine Gael in the wake of the 2002 election.

"We have potential to come back in Dublin. We have some very good candidates," he said.