FORMER Fianna Fail senator Averil Power is set to cause more headaches for Micheal Martin with her decision to stand as an Independent candidate in the forthcoming general election.
Ms Power confirmed she will be running in the next election in her Dublin Bay North constituency after months of speculation following her shock decision to quit Fianna Fail.
Speaking to the Herald, Ms Power said she retained the majority of her election team after she quit Fianna Fail, claiming the party failed to throw its full support behind the Marriage Equality Referendum.
“It was a tough decision and a horrible week, but the one thing that kept me going was the kindness that people showed me,” she said.
“I know a lot of my support base has been incredibly loyal since I left Fianna Fail. I have been getting constant messages from people who say they agree with my decision and that they will continue to support me.”
Informed sources said around 55 members based in Ms Power’s constituency quit the party after her departure.
She may now find herself in an election dogfight with former party colleague Deidre Heney in one of the toughest constituency battles in the country.
Meanwhile, speculation is mounting over the possibility of Fianna Fail adding Sean Haughey to the ticket after he failed to make it past the selection convention.
The decision to run two candidates could split the Fianna Fail vote and play into Ms Power’s hands. However, party officials yesterday insisted no decision has been made.
Ms Power said she did not want her campaign to focus on her fallout with the Fianna Fáil leadership, who she strongly criticised after her resignation.
“I don’t want to get into the Fianna Fail thing. I am running my own campaign,” she said.
Given her strong support of the Marriage Equality Referendum, Ms Power may also take votes from the Labour Party’s likely candidate, Junior Minister Aodhan O Riordain.
Apart from Sinn Féin, she would not rule out supporting any future governments and even praised the Coalition’s work on the economy.
“To be fair to Fine Gael and Labour the economy is recovering, but a lot of people aren’t seeing that in their pocket and socially their decisions have been a disaster,” Ms Power added.
Fine Gael is running three candidates in Dublin Bay North, including Jobs Minister Richard Bruton.
Sitting TDs Finian McGrath, Renua’s Terence Flanagan and Sinn Fein councillor Micheal Mac Donncha will also challenge for a seat.