herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

'Boring' Martin under the cosh in poll slump

FIANNA Fail leader Micheal Martin has been told to act "less dull" by his party colleagues.

With fears growing that the party is becoming irrelevant, Mr Martin is now being urged to "raise his game".

One year after the party's dismal election performance they have failed to regain any significant public support.

Some TDs and senators were left "shell-shocked" by an opinion poll yesterday which showed Fianna Fail's popularity at just 16pc.

And they are attributing some of the blame to Mr Martin, who is seen in some circles as "boring" and "too clean".

Fianna Fail sources have been left wondering how, despite the raft of austerity measures being introduced by Fine Gael and Labour, it has still failed to make an impact with voters.

The party is now floundering behind Sinn Fein by a massive nine points and has just half the popularity of Fine Gael.

Mr Martin is facing strong calls to take a much more aggressive approach with the Government as he prepares to open the party's Ard Fheis this weekend.

If these poll figures were replicated in a general election, Fianna Fail would actually haemorrhage seats -- a disastrous prospect for the party faithful.

While party TDs and senators believe Mr Martin is "doing his best", there are growing fears of being overshadowed by Sinn Fein. "We're the biggest party in Opposition but you wouldn't know it sometimes," one TD said.







Policies

"Sinn Fein are coming across as the real opposing voice and we seem to be letting them."

Sean Fleming, the party's spokesperson for public expenditure and reform, described Fianna Fail as "over-cautious" and "hamstrung".

"Everything has moved on. The economy has moved on, our policies haven't moved on - that hasn't happened yet."

And party sources have told the Herald that there is "huge concern" that the imminent Mahon Tribunal publication will throw the party's past back into the limelight.

The report, which is expected to be scathing of former Fianna Fail leader Bertie Ahern, will be published in the coming weeks.

The Herald has learned that a number of TDs and senators have contacted Micheal Martin in recent weeks urging him to take "whatever measures necessary" to ensure the party's image is not damaged.

"This could be 'make-or-break' for us," one senior TD told the Herald today.

See pages 14 and 15



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