Tuesday 25 October 2016

Sean Haughey: Micheal Martin had nothing to do with me being added to Fianna Fail ticket

Sean Haughey denies being part of a Fianna Fail ‘old boys’ network’, as claimed by running mate Deirdre Heney
Sean Haughey denies being part of a Fianna Fail ‘old boys’ network’, as claimed by running mate Deirdre Heney
Deirdre Heney

Sean Haughey has denied accusations by Fianna Fail election colleague Deirdre Heney that an 'old boys friendship' with party leader Micheal Martin resulted in him becoming her running mate.

The city councillor and former junior minister said he never spoke to Mr Martin about being added to the ticket in Dublin Bay North.

Mr Haughey said he was not a personal friend of Mr Martin.

"Micheal Martin has not been involved in this candidate selection process at all. He has left it entirely to the constituencies committee of the National Executive," he told the Herald in an exclusive interview.

"I don't want to be a Judas. We were all in Ogra Fianna Fail in the eighties and it was purely a political friendship," he said.

He said it was correct to say they were not social friends.

"I haven't spoken to him at all about this. There has been no contact. Any contact has been with party headquarters at their instigation," he said.

Deirdre Heney has publicly criticised the party decision to add Mr Haughey as a second candidate, declaring she was "very, very disappointed in the leader of my party doing this to me".

And she twice refused to declare she had faith in the Fianna Fail leader when asked on Newstalk's Breakfast show yesterday.

Mr Haughey said she was probably suffering from a case of "electionitis."


"It has just been a little bit of what I call electionitis. But now it's time to move on and start the campaign," he said.

"Public squabbles like this are very off-putting for the public. All concerned need to move on as quickly as possible."

He also claimed that Deirdre Heney had been added to his own general election ticket in 2002 when he and Ivor Callelly were elected.

"She was added to my ticket in 2002," he said. "Deirdre Heney has been added to the ticket by party headquarters on two occasions - in a general election and in a local election by Bertie Ahern."

He claimed that Cllr Heney had told delegates at the recent selection convention that if she won then, he would be added to the ticket anyway so it could not have been a surprise.

He also rejected a claim that she would not have been added to the ticket if he had been selected by the convention.

"There was always going to be two candidates - a man and a woman," he said, adding it was "well-flagged for several months".

"It was always going to be a case of Fianna Fail running a man and a woman and when Averil Power departed the scene I think the convential wisdom was it was always going to be Haughey and Heney, regardless of who came through the convention," he said.

He said it was quite normal for party headquarters to ask a selection convention to pick one candidate and for headquarters to add a candidate later. Fianna Fail did the same in Kerry and several other constituencies this year, he said.


He said internal-party competition was normal and healthy and pointed out he has been through many election battles.

"Unfortunately, when your name is Haughey there is always, always interest, that's to put it mildy. I've seen it all before. It's all quite silly really," he said.

This will be his eighth general election fight and he had a solid reputation of his own for public service for over 30 years, he said.

"I am encouraged by the support I'm getting around the constituency. It's a huge constituency," he said.

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