- 02 Aug 18
In a major interview in the new issue of Hot Press, the former deputy leader of Fianna Fáil Mary Hanafin opens up about love, death, religion, abortion, her later father’s alcoholism, Donald Trump, Bono, Brexit… & the Presidency. But she refuses to say how she voted in the Same Sex Marriage Referendum…
Her comments on this issue, on abortion and religion – what she believes in an why – have to be read in context. They do indeed make for extraordinary reading...
The interview, conducted by Hot Press senior editor Jason O’Toole, also sees the ex-government minister and former deputy leader of Fianna Fail criticizes her own party for not running a candidate in the upcoming election – despite offering high praise for incumbent Michael D. Higgins.
Mary Hanafin argues that not running a candidate opens the way for Sinn Fein to use the presidential election as platform to gain huge media exposure at the cost of her own party.
She also explains why Bertie Ahern – of whom she also speaks highly – will never become president.
Mary Hanafin’s father, the late Des Hanafin was one of the founders of the so called Pro Life campaign in the late 1970s and the 1980s. Here, for the first time, Mary discusses her own private stances on abortion and same sex marriage – and reveals what her dying father made of the radically changing Ireland of today.
On the presidency, Mary Hanafin tells Hot Press, “We’re a political party and what we do is contest elections. I can understand why the party wants to support Michael D. because I genuinely mean he has been a fantastic president. But we shouldn’t have been the first out of the traps to do that...”
On why Bertie Ahern shouldn’t run for the presidency, Mary states: “I don’t think he should because I don’t believe he’d get it. And I wouldn’t like for him to be defeated. Bertie was very good to me. Eamon died when I was Whip. So, I worked very closely with him. And he appointed me Minister for Education. He was very kind to me – and I will always remember him for that.”
On what her father would’ve made of the 8th referendum result, Marysays, “My mother was glad he didn’t live to see the result of the abortion referendum because he wouldn’t have believed that Ireland could’ve changed so much.”
On the possibility of FF doing a deal with FG after the next election, Mary explains: “I think Fianna Fáil would turn to Fine Gael and Fine Gael would turn to Fianna Fáil faster than they’d ever turn to Sinn Féin. We could end up with the same again the next time. Maybe in reverse, or maybe the same again. But certainly you won’t see Sinn Féin in it.”
On her father’s battle with alcoholism, Mary reveals: “My father was an alcoholic. My mother used to be praying for him to come off the drink. She wanted something to happen that would get him off the drink but not kill him. So, he had a very bad accident in 1967 where he broke his legs, his hips, his toes – and ended up on the flat of his back for six months. And that got him off the drink. He used to say that he broke his legs to get back on his feet. He only died last year."
On her husband’s death, Mary says: “Yeah. Anybody who lives on their own, if they’re being honest, would have to admit, ‘Yes, it’s lonely.’” But she insists that she’s no interest in meeting somebody new, adding: “No. I really appreciate the fact that I had such a happy marriage. As I say, so many don’t. I’m content with the life I had.”
In our exclusive interview, Mary Hanafin also talks about religion, explains, why she’s against what she calls ‘ ults', talks about her cousin Paul Brady and reveals how Bono once told her the price of hiring a hitman in Dublin! But one suspects that it is what she has to say – or not – on the old reliables of the ‘liberal agenda’ that is likely to spark most public reaction.
Read the full interview in the new Hot Press magazine. Out now.