Belfast Telegraph

New team is ready to govern: Martin

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin claims his new front bench is ready for government as he mixed fresh faces with party veterans.

Leadership rivals Brian Lenihan and Eamon O'Cuiv kept their positions in Finance and Social Protection while Mary Hanafin was appointed Mr Martin's deputy and Environment spokesperson.

Former Defence Minister Willie O'Dea, who resigned in swirl of controversy last year, has made a comeback to take on the Communications brief.

And in an unusual move, four of the 21 members are not elected to the Dail, with one senator, two councillors and an election candidate among the line-up.

Mr Martin said the usual rules no longer applied.

"The old ways are not going to suffice any more. What this is clearly saying is that we do need to open up opportunity," he said.

"There are many councillors across the country who have a lot of experience. There are many people outside of political representation who have political expertise they can bring to the table."

Mr Martin said the new line-up was a team for government.

In revamping the front bench Mr Martin left out a number of junior ministers who pledged support in his challenge against Taoiseach Brian Cowen, including Aine Brady and Sean Haughey.

But he took on three fresh faces from outside the parliamentary party, including Dublin Central councillor Mary FitzPatrick as Housing spokesperson, barrister and Dublin South East councillor Jim O'Callaghan as legal advisor and Constitutional Reform spokesperson, and Dublin North East election candidate Averil Power.

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