Coughlan hints at return to politics

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said there is "enormous goodwill" towards Mary Coughlan in the party, which hopes to win two seats in Donegal in the next general election.

His comments came as the former tánaiste said she was considering making a return to politics after losing her seat in 2011.

Ms Coughlan also defended the last Government’s decision to guarantee the banks and said that the European Central Bank also had questions to answer about the long-term bailout of financial institutions.

Speaking at the MacGill Summer School in Donegal, Ms Coughlan spoke about the tragic death of her husband, David, who lost his battle with cancer.

The former TD also said it had been a “very tough time” when the financial crisis struck and she was a minister and tánaiste in the last Fianna Fáil-led Government.

“The tsunami that hit us was not on the radar at the time. If it was, we would have been far more prepared,” Ms Coughlan said.

She said she was not in Government buildings during the night of the infamous bank guarantee in September 2008 but discussed the issue on the phone with Mr Cowen.

“At the time, we were left with no decision or a decision. So we had to make a decision,” she said.

She said a decision was made as there were concerns that there would be no money in the ATM machines the next morning.

“A decision was made on the basis of the information that was made available to the Government.”

She also said the ECB needed to be “inquired into in their role in the context of the banking bailout”.

Speaking on the Today Show on RTÉ radio, she said that she was considering returning to politics and possibly making a bid for a seat in the next general election.

“I’m not sure, I’ll see. It’s not a matter for me at the end of the day. I’m a big believer in what the party decides,” Ms Coughlan said.

“I’d have a lot of people who’d like me to go back, in my party. People in the local areas would like to see me involved in politics.”

Reacting to her comments, Fianna Fáil party leader Mr Martin said: “There is enormous goodwill towards Mary Coughlan within the Fianna Fáil party. She is a member of the party as it stands.

“The situation coming out of the local elections gives us a good platform to fight the general election,” he said.

The party got 30 percent in the local election in the county and hopes to return local TD Charlie McConalogue next time around, but with a second TD.

“There is renewed vigour within the party and we are in a position to challenge for a second seat in Donegal,” Mr Martin said.

However, he said he would not endorse any candidate over another.


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