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Hanafin becomes FF deputy leader as new front bench unveiled

Micheál Martin unveils a team of 21 new spokespersons – including some unfamiliar faces from outside the Dáil.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire

MICHEÁL MARTIN has named Mary Hanafin as the new Deputy Leader of Fianna Fáil as he unveiled a reshuffled front bench to lead his party’s fight to save seats in next month’s general election.

With just 25 days left to go until the likely polling day, Martin’s front bench includes two Councillors, one Senator, and one candidate who has yet to even contest a general election.

Martin’s team of 21 includes the return of former Defence minister Willie O’Dea, who resigned from the cabinet just over a year ago, who is handed the Communications brief; while former junior minister and vocal critic of Brian Cowen, Kilkenny’s John McGuinness, is given responsibility for Small Business.

Other new briefs created by Martin include a position on Political Reform, which goes to Averil Power – a former personal aide to the new deputy leader Hanafin, and wife of Irish Independent political editor Fionnán Sheahan, who is contesting the general election in Dublin North East.

A new brief on Financial Sector Reform is given to Martin’s constituency colleague in Cork South Central, Michael McGrath, while Cllr Jim O’Callaghan SC – brother of RTÉ broadcaster Miriam – is appointed to the new role as Spokesman on Constitutional Reform as well as being legal advisor to the front bench, an obvious precursor to the position of Attorney General.

Sean Fleming, constituency colleague of outgoing Taoiseach Brian Cowen, is given the role of Public Sector Reform spokesman – all but assuring that he will contest the election, ending speculation that he – like Cowen – was ready to retire.

The six current members of cabinet all retain responsibilities for their original briefs, with the exception of Hanafin who takes over as spokesperson for the Environment and Local Government. Her Tourism brief is given to Senator Marc MacSharry.

Announcing his new front bench at Leinster House today, Martin said he had “decided to draw on the party’s full base of TDs, Senators, councillors and candidates” in compiling his new front bench, and said the creation of new posts would underline his party’s credentials in seeking political, financial and public service reform.

Hanafin becomes FF deputy leader as new front bench unveiled
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  • Micheal Martin - Party Leader

  • Mary Hanafin - Deputy Leader; Environment & Local Government

  • Brian Lenihan - Finance

  • John Curran - Justice & Law Reform

  • Barry Andrews - Health & Children

  • Mary Coughlan - Education & Skills

  • Éamon Ó Cuív - Social Protection

  • Dara Calleary - Enterprise, Employment and Innovation

  • Brendan Smith - Agriculture, Fisheries & Food

  • Marc MacSharry - Tourism & Arts

  • Niall Collins - Defence

  • Pat Carey - Community, Equality & Gaeltacht Affairs

  • Willie O'Dea - Communications, Energy & Natural Resources

  • Billy Kelleher - Transport

  • Peter Power - Foreign Affairs and Trade

  • Averil Power - Political Reform

  • Michael McGrath - Financial Sector Reform

  • Sean Fleming - Public Sector Reform

  • Darragh O'Brien - Sport

  • John McGuinness - Small Business

  • Mary Fitzpatrick - Housing & Urban Development

  • Jim O Callaghan - Legal Advisor; Spokesperson on Constitutional Reform

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Gavan Reilly

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