herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Attack on Martin's leadership 'below the belt' say angry colleagues

Fianna Fail's Deirdre Heney
Fianna Fail's Deirdre Heney

FIANNA Fail members have said they did support the marriage equality referendum, despite Senator Averil Power’s claim that the “vast majority” of the party had not.

The senator from Dublin Bay North announced her decision to resign from the party yesterday, claiming the party is “out of touch with the needs and concerns of the ordinary people”.

Ms Power took issue with the party’s “cynical” campaign for a ‘Yes’ vote in the marriage referendum, claiming the “vast majority” of her party “refused to campaign for it”.

However, Dublin Bay North councillor Deirdre Heney admitted she did not canvass during the lead-up to the referendum, and when asked if she had personally supported a ‘Yes’ vote, she said she “supported the party position”.

Ms Heney also said she hopes Fianna Fail would now choose her as a candidate in the general election.

Ms Power was strongly critical of party leader Micheal Martin, saying he had become “a leader without followers” and that the party itself “lacks leadership”.

OUTRAGEOUS

Her northside colleague, Senator Darragh O’Brien, said her comments were “below the belt” and “outrageous”.

On the issue of marriage equality, Mr O’Brien said he campaigned for a ‘Yes’ vote and that the party leader “led from the front”.

“I really think the issue is much more about being selected in Dublin Bay North for the general election where she did request that she be selected unopposed at the convention coming up, and that’s not the way that our party works,” he told the Herald.

Speaking on RTE’s Six One News, Mr Martin said the party led the way in the marriage referendum.

“I think what’s fair to say is that I came out two years earlier than Enda Kenny [in support of marriage equality], and I’m not making a party political point on this because everyone went on a journey on this particular issue, and there’s no unity across most parties on it and there’s differing views of enthusiasm behind it in my party and in other parties,” he said.

He claimed Ms Power “dismissed too much the honourable contribution” made by FF members.

He also said Ms Power gave him “no indication” of wanting to leave the party.

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