Coughlan congratulates Martin on FF leadership

Coughlan congratulates Martin on FF leadership

Coughlan congratulates Martin on FF leadership

Tnaiste Mary Coughlan has congratulated Michael Martin on his election as the new leader of Fianna Fil.

The former minister for foreign affairs won a ballot of the parliamentary party yesterday after being the front runner since Brian Cowen announced at the weekend that he was stepping down.

"I want to congratulate him on his election as leader of Fianna Fail," the Donegal South West TD said in a statement. "I am looking forward to working closely with him over the course of an intense and imminent election campaign."

A spokesman for the Tanaiste also confirmed that she will still be contesting the general election after the tumultuous events of the last two weeks which have seen Brian Cowen win a leadership ballot and then resign over a misjudged attempt to reshuffle the cabinet. His resignation was then followed by the Green Party resigning from government. Mary Coughlan has been one of Cowen's closest allies, but recent weeks have seen a raft of the Taoisech's supporters announcing they will not be contesting their seats.

There is strong speculation that Brian Cowen will give up his seat and this has called into question whether the Tnaiste will run.

Mary Coughlan told Donegal South West selection convention earlier this month that she had another 20 years in politics.

A spokesman for the Tnaiste, said: "She is very much focused on the election campaign."

Meanwhile the Inishowen Fianna Fil comhairle ceantair has rebutted claims by Senator Cecilia Keaveney that she was not properly informed of recent comhairle ceantair meetings to make arrangements for the General Election.

The comhairle ceantair met on Sunday when it called a selection convention to be held tonight to select a candidate for the election. The decision has not been sanctioned by party headquarters but no date for a convention in the constituency has been chosen. Donegal North East is one of the very last constituencies not to have selected its Fianna Fail candidates.

In a statement issued on Monday, Senator Keaveney said she would not attend the convention and added that she has had no discussions locally or nationally about conventions for the forthcoming General Election.

But in its own statement the comhairle ceantair pointed out that Seanator Keaveney has not attended the last four meetings of Inishowen comhairle ceantair.

"Every effort was made to contact Party members by telephone and the meeting was one of the best attended in many years. Senator Keaveney received a telephone call and message to inform her of this meeting and when she did not respond, contact was made with close family members to ensure notification was forwarded to her," the statement said.

The comhairle ceantair said in the statement: "All members were unanimous and united at the meeting that Inishowen must have it's own candidate and that any proposal by party headquarters for a one candidate strategy for Donegal North East would not be acceptable to Inishowen."