Robinson has no hard feelings over Flynn jibe


FORMER PRESIDENT Mary Robinson has said in a local radio documentary to be broadcast later this week that she was not angry over a personal attack made on her during the 1990 presidential campaign by then Fianna Fáil minister Pádraig Flynn.

A comment by Mr Flynn in which he accused Mrs Robinson as "having a new-found interest in her family" is generally regarded as having backfired and damaged the campaign of the Fianna Fáil candidate Brian Lenihan. In a documentary, Mary Robinson - A Trust Well Placed, which will be aired on Midwest Radio next Friday, Ireland's first woman President says she didn't take Mr Flynn's comments to heart and, in fact, felt a bit sorry for him.

She explained: "I had always tried to keep my family life private. I never felt a need to parade my children, they were too precious to me. But after being nominated for the presidency, I was told there would have to be publicity and the whole family was featured in Hello! magazine. That is probably what Pádraig Flynn was referring to. I almost felt sorry for Pádraig afterwards but obviously it was good for my campaign."

Also interviewed for the documentary was former Fianna Fáil minister Gerry Collins, who explains in the programme that it came as quite a shock to the party when Mrs Robinson beat his party's candidate. Mr Collins acknowledges that Mrs Robinson had been a driving force for change during her period as president.