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Monday 29 May 2023 Dublin: 13°C
PA Images/Niall Carson Keeping a bird's eye view of Fianna Fail: Hanafin says she's staying politically active and will run for Dail seat again
Mary Hanafin: I will run in the next general election
Former Fianna Fail TD says she hasn’t given up on politics – but says it will be a “full five years” before Fianna Fail gets a chance to challenge at the polls again.

FORMER FIANNA FAIL minister Mary Hanafin has said she is down – but not out of politics for good. The former TD who lost her seat in Dun Laoghaire at the polls in February said she intends to run in the next general election.

Hanafin told Ryan Tubridy on RTE Radio One this morning that she had already told Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin that she would do what she could to work for the party in the intervening time. However, she said she presumed Fianna Fail would have to wait “the full five years” to face Fine Gael and Labour at the polls again.

She said she would rule out a run at the Aras this autumn. She said:

I think the presidency is one of the most wonderful jobs in Ireland. Being realistic, if I can’t be elected in Dun Laoghaire, I don’t think I could get elected in Ireland.

Hanafin said that she suspected that Fianna Fail would endorse someone from outside the party, “someone who hasn’t been a political figure in the last few years”.

The former teacher said that in the meantime she couldn’t see herself returning, as a former minister for education, to the classroom and had resigned her position in her old teaching school of Sion Hill. Her husband died suddenly eight years ago, and politics had filled her life “seven days a week” since. She said:

It suited me to be busy all of the time. No matter who invited me where… I just threw myself headlong into that. It suited me politically and certainly personally to do that. It’s not just a work gap, it’s a whole lifestyle gap.

The former Fianna Fail deputy leader said she was stumped by how to fill out the ‘occupation’ section of her Census 2011 form last night. She said she felt she was too young to be retired – Hanafin is 51 years old – and felt she couldn’t align herself with other unemployed people because she was not under the same financial pressure as many of them.

I ticked myself as currently out of a job but I couldn’t put myself in a category with other people who have commitments and dependents.

However, Hanafin stopped short of saying Fianna Fail had precipitated the economic chaos the country finds itself in. She said that there were other factors involved in the downturn including “poor regulations, business – developers also made their own decisions”. She said the property bubble was also swollen by citizen demand, saying:

Every young person was looking for a house.

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