Kate Feeney after her local election success last year. Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland
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Kate Feeney and Mary Hanafin will battle it out for Fianna Fail in Dún Laoghaire

The Battle of Blackrock resumes…

Updated 6.05pm 

FIANNA FÁIL COUNCILLOR Kate Feeney has declared her intention to seek the party’s nomination to run for the Dáil in Dún Laoghaire, resuming her rivalry with former minister Mary Hanafin.

In a resumption of what has become known as the ‘Battle of Blackrock’, the first-time councillor said today that she would be contesting the Fianna Fáil selection convention which is due to take place before the end of next month.

Feeney and Hanafin fought a high-profile battle for council seats in last year’s local elections. After Fianna Fáil botched the nominating process, Hanafin ended up running as an ‘unofficial’ party candidate alongside Feeney.

Both were elected to Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for the Blackrock ward and will now both be seeking the Fianna Fáil nomination to run in the general election in the south Dublin constituency.

Dún Laoghaire-based councillor Cormac Devlin, who has the backing of party grandee Mary O’Rourke, is also set to contest.

In a statement today, Feeney said she had made her decision after encouragement from party members.

“The General Election in 2016 will not be an easy one for Fianna Fáil, but with the right candidate I believe Fianna Fáil can regain a seat in Dún Laoghaire.  I feel I have the capability to be that candidate because of the energy and vibrancy I will bring to the campaign.”

She later told that she believes it’s time for Fianna Fáil to give young candidates a chance.

“A lot of people are saying there hasn’t really been any change. There has been change in the party and we need to start showing that. We have a strong base of young candidates coming forward. I think it’s time they are given a chance.”

Local Elections Counts Mary Hanafin after her local election success last year Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland Sasko Lazarov / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Earlier this week, Hanafin announced that she would not be contesting for the vice presidency of Fianna Fáil at the party’s Ard Fheis later this month. The former education minister said she wants to concentrate on winning the nomination in Dún Laoghaire.

Both the Hanafin and Feeney camps believe that a one candidate strategy represents the best chance for Fianna Fáil to win back a Dáil seat in the constituency.

Dún Laoghaire is currently set to be a three-seater at the next election on the assumption that current Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett is automatically re-elected if he does not decide to retire or step down and run for re-election, as has been mooted.

Barrett’s fellow Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell-O’Connor is considered a certainty to be re-elected. The eventual Fianna Fáil candidate is set to battle it out with ex-Labour leader Eamon Gilmore and People Before Profit’s Richard Boyd-Barrett for the other two seats.

Feeney said that while there has been “a lot of talk about what Fianna Fáil headquarters will do” the choice of candidate in Dún Laoghaire will be up to party members in the constituency.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil’s leader on Dublin City Council, Paul McAuliffe, has called on potential party candidates to “end the blood sport and get on with winning seats”.

“Members of the party in Dublin are sick of seeing potential candidates slogging it out in national newspapers. Leaks and counter leaks are feeding a narrative that personalities are more important than policy,” he told this website.

Mary Hanafin: I don’t feel resentment against Fianna Fáil… or Micheál Martin

Read: Micheál Martin is delighted for Kate Feeney…and Mary Hanafin did well too

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