Martin says Fianna Fáil to investigate Hanafin’s defiance

Former minister insists she ‘wouldn’t do anything to damage the party’

Mary Hanafin: said she was given “good reasons, good party reasons to run” and no good reasons for pulling out

Mary Hanafin: said she was given “good reasons, good party reasons to run” and no good reasons for pulling out

Wed, May 7, 2014, 01:00

Former minister for education Mary Hanafin says she will rely on her own network of supporters during her local election campaign, after Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin insisted she was not an official party candidate.

Mr Martin also said the party would investigate Ms Hanafin’s open defiance of its recommendation she should not submit nomination papers for the local elections, after initially being asked to do so.

Mr Martin said Ms Hanafin “chose to ignore” the party’s “well-understood and long-standing ratification process” when she defied him to submit her nomination papers on Saturday.

“Mary Hanafin’s refusal to respect the process and openly defy the clearly expressed decision of the national constituencies committee will now be referred to the Ard Chomhairle’s rules and procedures committee for investigation and ruling,” Mr Martin said.

The statement was being read by some in Leinster House as the first moves in efforts to expel Ms Hanafin from the party, although she disagreed this was the case.

‘Good reasons to run’

Ms Hanafin had been told by the party on Friday it would only be running one candidate, Kate Feeney, and was asked not to submit her papers.

Speaking on RTÉ radio, Ms Hanafin said she was given “good reasons, good party reasons to run” and no good reasons for pulling out.

She again said she was asked to run by the party in an effort to secure two seats in the six-seater Blackrock ward on Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

Asked whether Mr Martin had asked her to withdraw, she said he had asked on Friday night, Saturday morning and before the deadline for withdrawals closed at noon yesterday morning. “Micheál Martin is not an unpleasant person,” she said when asked if she was put under pressure by the party leadership.

The former Dún Laoghaire deputy said she was told not to back down by members, TDs and councillors, and it was now up to the people of Blackrock to accept her. “I wouldn’t do anything to damage the party,” she said. A number of senior party TDs said they had sympathy for Ms Hanafin over how she had been treated.

Mr Martin said it was with “great disappointment” he learned Ms Hanafin had gone ahead and submitted her papers on Saturday.“In the meantime, the party will continue to campaign for the properly ratified candidate in Blackrock, Kate Feeney. Kate will make an excellent councillor if elected,” he said.