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Mary Fitzpatrick eyes fight to take Dublin West from Joan Burton

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Mary Fitzpatrick

Mary Fitzpatrick

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Mary Fitzpatrick

Former Dublin City councillor Mary Fitzpatrick, who failed to be elected in the recent European elections, is poised to go head-to-head with Tanaiste Joan Burton for a Dail seat.

The Herald has confirmed that Ms Fitzpatrick is considering a bold switch from Dublin Central to Dublin West as part of plans to revive the party in the capital.

Ms Fitzpatrick has consistently stood for election in Dublin Central where she was narrowly defeated on two occasions amid claims that she was "shafted" by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the so-called 'Drumcondra Mafia'.

Mr Ahern sent out a letter to 30,000 constituents in Dublin Central asking them to give their number twos to Fianna Fail's Cyprian Brady, but made no reference to Ms Fitzpatrick.

The move was seen as an attempt to sabotage Ms Fitzpatrick, who lost out on a Dail seat despite securing nearly double Mr Brady's first preferences.

Mr Ahern then put the dagger into Ms Fitzpatrick's campaign again in 2011 when he released a letter which again called on voters to back Mr Brady ahead of his running mate.

Now, Ms Fitzpatrick's move is being considered because of changes to the constituency boundaries which has resulted in her stronghold of the Navan Road being brought into Dublin West.

Such a move would place her head-to-head with Tanaiste and Labour Party leader Joan Burton and Health Minister Leo Varadkar.

However, Fianna Fail would have to carefully consider the merits of Ms Fitzpatrick transferring to Dublin West given the presence of sitting councillor and previous by-election candidate David McGuinness.

The news comes as leader Micheal Martin insisted his party will meet its target of putting forward up to 27 women as general election candidates.

Mr Martin said he is confident Fianna Fail can satisfy the rules surrounding gender quotas and persuade a raft of first-time female candidates to put their names forward.

satisfied

The Cork TD, who previously admitted that meeting the new gender rules will prove challenging, said Fianna Fail expects to run over 60 candidates in the general election.

And Mr Martin said he is satisfied that Fianna Fail can persuade between 20-27 women to contest the election - a target recommended by the party's own internal strategy group known as the Markievicz Commission.

"It's not a case of finding them - they are there," Mr Martin told the Herald.

"It's a question, obviously, of the organisation entirely coming together to make sure that we have the right balance."

noconnor@herald.ie


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