Martin front-runner in Fianna Fáil leadership vote

The new leader of Fianna Fáil will be voted in today in a secret ballot. Seventy-two TDs will vote after the re-admission of Jimmy Devins last night.

The new leader of Fianna Fáil will be voted in today in a secret ballot. Seventy-two TDs will vote after the re-admission of Jimmy Devins last night.

Former Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin remained the front-runner ahead of Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, Social Protection and Defence Minister Eamon O Cuiv and Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin.

The parliamentary party will meet at 2pm in the Fianna Fáil rooms in Leinster House to vote, with a result expected around an hour later.

All four contenders addressed TDs and Senators last night.

Ms Hanafin accepted Mr Martin was the front runner and said members needed to feel proud once again to say they are members of Fianna Fáil.

Mr Martin was proposed by Dara Calleary and seconded by Aine Brady.

The rebel TD from Cork, who failed in a heave against Mr Cowen last week, has insisted he has the energy, passion and commitment to lead Fianna Fáil into a General Election and beyond.

Dublin-based Mr Lenihan, who is battling cancer but who has said his medical advice is that he is up to continuing in political life, was proposed by Sean Connick and seconded by Thomas Byrne.

He put Fine Gael and Labour on notice that, with him at the helm of Fianna Faáil, the election campaign will be "no walkover", warning he will fight them in every corner of the country.

Ms Hanafin was proposed by Cabinet colleague Pat Carey and seconded by Maire Hoctor.

The Dun Laoghaire TD said she wants to lead a renewed movement which encourages young people and women.

Mr O Cuiv, originally from Dublin but a Galway TD, aspires to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather Eamon De Valera, founder of Fianna Fail and the country’s first Taoiseach.

He was proposed by Eamon Scanlon and seconded by Michael Kitt.

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