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Four senior FF figures declare leadership intentions

Micheal Martin, Brian Lenihan, Éamon Ó Cuív and Mary Hanafin will all be candidates in Fianna Fáil’s leadership election.

MICHEÁL MARTIN, Brian Lenihan, Éamon Ó Cuív and Mary Hanafin will all be candidates in the Fianna Fáil leadership election this week, following Brian Cowen’s decision to step down earlier today.

Martin – who resigned as Foreign Affairs minister on Tuesday after he had publicly called for Brian Cowen’s motion of confidence to be defeated – told Newstalk radio that he would have his name submitted as a candidate for the leadership before the deadline on Monday afternoon.

RTÉ News later said that a spokesperson for current Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan had confirmed the minister would be running, but Lenihan has yet himself to make a public announcement.

Speaking from his home in Cork, Martin said he would put his name forward before the party, and would enter discussions with colleagues into the coming days to set out his vision for the party.

“I wouldn’t take anything for granted,” the former minister said. “I’ll have to ask every single member of the party for their vote and secure that vote, and work to persuade people to support me in that campaign.

“It has been a very difficult two weeks for the party; the issue now is the future, not just for the party but for the country. It’s extremely important that we have a strong focused debate on policy and the policy alternatives facing the country. And that’s where our focus will be.”

There was, in his words, “no obstacle” to Cowen remaining on as Taoiseach while a new leader of Fianna Fáil took office.

Ó Cuív openly declared his interest on Raidió na Gaeltachta, and told TG4′s 7pm Nuacht bulletin that he had a vision for an effective Irish public service, and wanted to pursue the party leadership in order to pursue that vision.

At such an important time in Ireland’s history, Ó Cuív said, it was important that the public decided what kind of parties it wanted, and what kind of policies they wanted their parties to pursue.

While he had long held ambitions to become the party leader, he said, he had never acted upon them until now because he did not wish to force a vacancy – something he said he had not done this time either.

This evening a spokeswoman for Mary Hanafin confirmed to RTÉ that the current minister for Tourism, Sport, Culture, Enterprise, Trade and Innovation would also be putting her name forward for Wednesday’s election.

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Gavan Reilly

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