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Martin returns to a hero's welcome

NEW Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin revelled in a hero's welcome as he arrived back to his native Cork last night -- despite his warnings that the General Election should be about policy and not personality.

Fianna Fail officials and supporters gathered in their hundreds at Maryborough House Hotel in Douglas for an official tribute dinner in Mr Martin's honour.

The rally was organised by the party's Cork South Central constituency cumann and marked a noted upswing in party morale since the Turner's Cross native was elected party leader last Wednesday.

The determination of the FF faithful to welcome the former Foreign Affairs Minister home meant that even the Cork South West constituency selection convention planned for Clonakilty last night was cancelled so that supporters could attend the city function.

The convention will now be staged tomorrow night in Dunmanway.

However, Mr Martin was determined to ensure his return to Cork was not portrayed as triumphalist.

"This is not a celebration -- we are getting down to hard work straight away. This will be a tough election for the party and we want everyone working to get every vote possible," he said.