herald

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Martin is left to sort 'utter chaos' as FF is split over Aras bid

FIANNA Fail leader Micheal Martin will attempt to mend deep divisions in the party after last night's parliamentary meeting descended into "utter f**king chaos".

TDs and senators were "split" over the party's strategy for selecting a presidential candidate with reports today suggesting that deputy leader Eamon O Cuiv threatened to resign over the issue.

The party was debating whether to give its backing to Senator Labhras O Murchu who announced on Wednesday that he was interested in running for the Aras.

However, Mr Martin put forward a motion which called for the party not to nominate any candidate -- a proposal which caused deep unrest among Senator O Murchu's backers.

But the entire meeting plunged into chaos mid-way through, with a number of TDs and senators accusing Senator O Murchu's supporters of "disillusionment" over his chances.

One TD told the Herald: "There was an awful lot of tension. At one stage several people were throwing accusations at each other.

"It seemed to be the result of a number of weeks of bad media coverage suggesting that the party had no clue as to what approach it was taking in relation to the presidency."

Mr O Cuiv eventually walked out of the meeting and had to be calmed down by party chairman John Browne and chief whip Sean O Fearghail.



Unhappy

The Herald understands that Deputy O Cuiv has been deeply unhappy with his leader's entire approach to the selection of a presidential candidate.

The decision on the party's presidential strategy is now not expected to be finalised until next Tuesday.

One senior TD explained: "The party's divided on the matter, there's no secret being made about that."

Meanwhile, Senator David Norris will continue to lobby support for his second presidential bid today, after addressing a depleted meeting of the Independent Technical group yesterday.

hnews@herald.ie

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