herald

Friday 14 December 2018

FF TDs hit back at Hanafin's outburst

FIANNA Fail frontbenches have defended their roles in the wake of former Minister Mary Hanafin's claim that not even she could name many of the of them.

The Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown councillor, who has ambitions of a return to the Dail, was uncompromising in her criticism of leader Micheal Martin's team.

"If I can't name who they are, the public definitely can't," she said.

Party health spokesman Billy Kelleher defended the frontbench.

"We are still in recovery mode and making progress. In May's local elections we emerged as the largest party in the local councils and our 20 TDs are doing what they can to continue the work of listening and re-building," he said.

Others showed little patience for Ms Hanafin's remarks, but were loath to give Ms Hanafin more credibility by publicly responding.

"I would be better known if I toured the media slating Fianna Fail," one TD commented.

Meanwhile, social protection spokesman Willie O'Dea conceded that the party needs "to up its game" following Ms Hanafin's criticisms.

Mr O'Dea said that they may "have taken the foot off the pedal" soon after big gains in local elections last May.

"But we're back at it again from this week and we'll not let up," Mr O'Dea said.

Finance spokesman Michael McGrath said the party must use criticisms like these as motivation to do better.

"We have made progress but we have a lot of work to do on policy and other issues and we need a better work rate," Mr McGrath said.

hnews@herald.ie

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