Smear campaign launched against Mary Hanafin

Posters in Blackrock, South Dublin, criticising Mary Hanafin, who says she has contacted gardaí.

A smear campaign has been launched against former Education Minister Mary Hanafin in a bid to derail her attempt to return to the Dáil in the general election.

Negative messages and posters targeting the former teacher and calling on voters not to elect the “toxic” councillor to the Dáil have been placed in her electoral area.

Ms Hanafin was the target of a dirty tricks postering campaign when she ran in the highly contested Blackrock ward in South Dublin in last year’s local elections.

However, more posters attacking Ms Hanafin were discovered over the weekend on the streets of the suburban village. One stated: “She is by far the most dangerous and toxic person in FF. She and her party drove the economy over a cliff. Never ever elect her again.”

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During the 2014 local election campaign, other negative posters appeared in the area highlighting Ms Hanafin’s link with former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern as well as her lucrative pension.

When contacted by the Irish Examiner yesterday, Ms Hanafin said she had contacted gardaí about the newer posters and was aware of others that had been put up around the time of the Fianna Fáil Árd Fheis in Ballsbridge, Dublin, last month.

“I haven’t a clue [who is doing this]. I’ve complained to gardaí. They’re breaking the litter laws, but also this is verging on public abuse,” she said.

Ms Hanafin was elected to the local council last year after a contest with Fianna Fail’s Kate Feeney. Both were elected but the campaign became known as the Battle of Blackrock.

Both are also now vying for the Dun Laoghaire seat in the next general election, along with party councillor Cormac Devlin and another party candidate Jennifer Cuffe.

There is no suggestion any of Ms Hanafin’s competitors are behind the negative poster campaign.

The message displayed in Blackrock comes as Ms Hanafin attempts to secure support from Fianna Fáil members for selection in Dun Laoghaire. There has been no announcement yet when the party’s selection convention will take place.

The former minister says she will not run as an Independent if she fails to win the Fianna Fáil nomination.

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