Belfast Telegraph

Fianna Fail to choose new leader

Fianna Fail TDs and Senators are weighing up the qualities of the party's four leadership candidates ahead of Wednesday's secret vote.

They will choose between Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, Social Protection and Defence Minister Eamon O Cuiv, Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin and former foreign affairs minister Micheal Martin.

Mr Martin remained the front-runner but bookmaker Ladbrokes shortened the odds on Mr Lenihan to 6/1.

The new leader, the eighth since the party was founded in 1926, will be elected when the parliamentary party meets at 2pm on Wednesday in the Fianna Fail rooms in Leinster House.

Party chairman John Browne confirmed all four contenders had been officially nominated for the leadership contest.

Mr Martin, from Cork, was proposed by Dara Calleary and seconded by Aine Brady. The rebel TD, who failed in a heave against Mr Cowen last week, insisted he has the energy, passion and commitment to lead Fianna Fail into a General Election and beyond.

Dublin-based Mr Lenihan, who is battling cancer, was proposed by Sean Connick and seconded by Thomas Byrne. He put Fine Gael and Labour on notice that, with him at the helm of Fianna Fail, the election campaign will be no walkover, warning he will fight them in every corner of the country.

Ms Hanafin was proposed by Cabinet colleague Pat Carey and seconded by Maire Hoctor. The Dun Laoghaire TD said she wants to lead a renewed movement which encourages young people and women.

Mr O Cuiv, originally from Dublin but a Galway TD, aspires to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Eamon De Valera, founder of Fianna Fail and the country's first taoiseach. He was proposed by Eamon Scanlon and seconded by Michael Kitt.

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