Mary McAleese’s son lays out stall for FF election run

Justin McAleese to seek Fianna Fáil party nomination in Dublin Rathdown

The son of former president Mary McAleese has effectively declared his intention to stand for Fianna Fáil at the next general election, telling party members he will work to win a seat in a south Dublin constituency.

Justin McAleese sent a letter to party members in Dublin Rathdown in recent days in which he said they should have pride in the party’s history.

Mr McAleese previously played a prominent role in the same-sex marriage referendum in 2015, when he spoke of his experience of growing up as a gay man.

Strongly critical

However, he was strongly critical of the efforts by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin to campaign for a Yes vote.


Fianna Fáil is targeting gains in Dublin at the next election, although Dublin Rathdown is seen as a longer shot than other constituencies.

The constituency is a three-seater, and the sitting deputies are Minister for Transport Shane Ross, Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan and Catherine Martin of the Green Party.

Mr McAleese has been appointed as a local area representative by Fianna Fáil and is expected to contest the selection convention.

A date has yet to be fixed for the convention, and others such as Senator Gerry Horkan and Councillors Shay Brennan and Liam Dockery are also understood to be interested in running for the Dáil.

‘Take great pride’

In his letter to party members, Mr McAleese wrote: “We, as a party, should also acknowledge and take great pride in the contributions of our public representatives through the years.”

He mentions the role of former ministers Donagh O'Malley and Patrick Hillery in introducing free second-level education, as well as former taoiseach Jack Lynch leading Ireland into the EU. Bertie Ahern and Albert Reynolds are also mentioned for their contributions to the peace process.

Mr McAleese also cites praise given by his "former boss", Ryanair chief executive Michael O'Leary, to former Fianna Fáil minister and constituency TD Séamus Brennan.