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Martin hints he'd welcome Hanafin back

FIANNA Fail leader Micheal Martin has indicated that he would welcome a return to politics by Mary Hanafin.

Speaking after the former minister ruled herself out of the running for the European Parliament, Mr Martin hinted that he would be happy to see her back in the fold.

"Mary Hanafin has clearly indicated that she doesn't wish to go forward for the European [elections]," he said.

"But she hasn't ruled herself out of politics at all and may return to a later date. That's for the individual themselves. It's as basic and as simple as that, as it always has been."


The Herald previously revealed that Ms Hanafin was "strongly considering" May's elections for her comeback.

But she confirmed earlier this week that she was not "persuaded" by the move at the current time.

In an interview on Newstalk, Ms Hanafin said she would carry out research to determine whether she would make a return to politics in the future.

"I believe that in the next election in Dun Laoghaire, because it is a barometer for the rest of country, you're not going to see the same strength attached to some candidates as the last time," she added.

"We'll do some polls to see what people are actually thinking and what people want."

Fianna Fail is divided over the prospect of a return by former ministers such as Ms Hanafin, who was among the most high-profile politicians to lose her seat in the 2011 election.

Her decision to refrain from running in the European elections was welcomed by one TD. "She's the old guard, her time is up – she's not someone I would be willing to canvass for," they told the Herald.


But asked by this paper if he was also relieved, Mr Martin replied: "I'm surprised you'd use the word relieved.

"Anybody's entitled to go forward. It's up to each individual to make his or her choice in terms of what they feel is best for them."