herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Frianna Fail's Micheal Martin faces internal revolt as FF deals with election defeats

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin TD during the Fianna Fail launch
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin TD during the Fianna Fail launch
Paul Murphy

FIANNA Fail politicians have privately discussed Micheal Martin's position as party leader following their disappointing by-election defeats over the weekend.

The threat to Mr Martin's leadership has heightened as TDs and senators claim the party is desperately failing to capitalise on the huge public anger over water charges.

Several party sources have expressed deep anger over Mr Martin's assertion on Saturday that he is satisfied with the performance of the Fianna Fail candidates in both the Dublin South-West and Roscommon/South Leitrim by-elections.

Speaking to the Herald last night, former deputy leader Eamon O Cuiv accused the party of trying to "put a spin" on the result.

"Unless we realise the situation we are in and take radical action to deal with this, we will not halt the decline of our party as a major national political force," Mr O Cuiv said in a remark that will be viewed as being directed at Mr Martin in particular.

policies

"There will be an effort to put a spin on this result but the reality is our present approach is not working and we need a deep re-appraisal of what we stand for and our policies."

The by-election results have only added to the deep sense of disillusionment among TDs and senators over the performance of the party.

Councillor Ivan Connaughton was widely expected to win the Roscommon/South Leitrim vote after Mr Martin dedicated a substantial amount of his time canvassing alongside him.

Despite being the odds-on favourite, Mr Connaughton was beaten by Independent candidate Michael Fitzmaurice, who was strongly backed by MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan.

And Fianna Fail imploded in Dublin South West where its candidate John Lahart finished in a dismal sixth position and received 4,500 fewer votes than winner, Socialist politician Paul Murphy.

The Herald has learned that some TDs and senators have discussed Mr Martin's future as leader. The former minister is braced for a backlash from his colleagues at the party's parliamentary party meeting tomorrow.

"Things just aren't good enough under Micheal," said one TD.

However, a number of sources said they would struggle to name a replacement for Mr Martin despite the dissatisfaction over his leadership.

Andrew Lynch: Page 15

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