O'Rourke welcomes signs of Fianna Fáil bounce back in 'Irish Times' poll


FIANNA FÁIL’S bounce back in the Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll was on former minister Mary O’Rourke’s mind when her autobiography was launched by ex-president Mary McAleese last night.

Mrs O’Rourke referred to Fianna Fáil gaining 4 percentage points to become the second-biggest party in the State for the first time in more than two years when she welcomed Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to the event.

“We wish you well for the future. We know one swallow doesn’t make a summer. We know all of that – but it was still very nice to see the swallow.”

Ms McAleese said Mrs O’Rourke “gave me all the encouragement I needed to set me on the road that ended up in Áras an Uachtaráin” when she visited her seeking advice on the “fanciful notion” of running for the presidency in 1997.

Ms McAleese said Mrs O’Rourke’s book, Just Mary, was like the evidence she gave to the Mahon tribunal, “entirely truthful”.

In the book Mrs O’Rourke recounts her appearance before the tribunal in 2004 to give her account of the meeting with ministers that property developer Tom Gilmartin said happened in the Dáil in 1989, after which he said he was approached by a stranger who told him he should lodge £5 million to a bank account in the Isle of Man.

Mr Gilmartin said he was introduced to a number of ministers including the late Charles Haughey, Albert Reynolds, the late Séamus Brennan, Pádraig Flynn, the late Brian Lenihan snr, Bertie Ahern and Mrs O’Rourke.

Mrs O’Rourke was the only one who gave evidence that she remembered meeting Mr Gilmartin.

She also said Mr Reynolds and Mr Brennan were not in attendance.

Ms McAleese said the defining characteristic of Mrs O’Rourke’s life had been public service and noted that they both had been teachers of the late Brian Lenihan, Mrs O’Rourke’s nephew.

The event was attended by Ms McAleese’s husband, Martin McAleese, former minister Martin Mansergh and former attorney general and ex-minister Michael McDowell.