herald

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Martin dismisses Hanafin's criticism of FF performance

FIANNA Fail leader Micheal Martin has rejected a claim by former minister Mary Hanafin that voters are "absolutely not" ready to return the party to power.

But Mr Martin admitted the party need to improve its performance after Ms Hanafin launched a scathing attack on members of the Fianna Fáil front bench.

Several Fianna Fail figures last night claimed Ms Hanafin's remarks have caused deep anger within the party and have further isolated the former deputy leader.

Ms Hanafin, a newly elected councillor for Blackrock, said that members of the public cannot even name some of the party's top politicians.

"If I can't name who they are, the public definitely can't," she said in an interview last week.

But speaking at the party's annual think-in in Roscommon, Mr Martin said he disagrees with Ms Hanafin's "analysis" of the state of Fianna Fáil.

"I don't agree with Mary Hanafin's analysis. But I do welcome criticism. As leader of the party, I facilitate people to speak their minds but I wouldn't agree with the analysis," he said.

criticism

The Cork TD rejected that his own leadership will be brought into question if the party fails to win either of the upcoming by elections in the Dublin South West and the Roscommon/South Leitrim constituencies.

Separately, Mr Martin accused the government of misleading the Dail in relation to the health budget.

The Fianna Fáil leader said that the warning by the HSE that planned savings in the area of medical cards could not be achieved showed the government "cooked the books on health".

Mr Martin was referring to correspondence between HSE chief Tony O'Brien and the Department of Health in which Mr O'Brien warned that the 2014 budget and service plan for the health service was "unsafe and unrealistic".

"The government has lived a lie for three and a half years on health. And I think that's an absolutely appalling indictment of their stewardship of the health portfolio itself," Mr Martin said.

noconnor@herald.ie

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