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Martin faces Seanad revolt over his battle for 'new blood'

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin has another battle on his hands as older Seanad candidates rebel against his "dictatorial" plans to purge them.

The new party leader wants to bring in younger people, particularly women, for the Seanad elections so that Fianna Fail will have a pool of strong Dail candidates for the next general election.

Some older senators already have plans to step down, but others are forcibly resisting the proposed changes.

"I think it's very undemocratic. I've been re-elected to Seanad Eireann and I think its very serious to interfere with that process," said Mary White, who has been nominated to run again by the Irish Exporters Association.

"I have my nomination. I'm not withdrawing it. It's part of Fianna Fail's problem over the years, it has become dictatorial," he added.

Fianna Fail had 25 senators in the last Seanad but it is now hoping to get 12 elected because it has far fewer councillors and TDs to vote them in following its recent electoral defeat.

Party senators held a meeting in Leinster House yesterday and then a second meeting with Mr Martin to voice their objections to his plan to restrict the numbers nominated to run in the Seanad elections.

Restrict

One Fianna Fail senator accused Mr Martin of trying to do what he had failed to do during the election campaign, which was to restrict the number of candidates to maximise the party vote.

Despite older senators objections a party source said Mr Martin was determined to pursue his plan.

It was a question of acting strategically in the interests of renewing the party.

csheehy@herald.ie