Micheál Martin has no plans to step down as leader of Fianna Fáil. The Taoiseach also has not ruled out a future coalition with Fine Gael.
This comes after a meeting was held in the Slieve Russel Hotel amongst Fianna Fáil senators and TDs, where it emerged that several members of the party shared their concerns over the Fianna Fáil’s leadership. This is due to the party’s major decline in the polls.
A series of problems had been outlined in a report compiled by Junior Minister Sean Fleming. These problems severely hampered Fianna Fail’s General Election performance.
The report claimed that the party struggled to attract younger voters. It also said that it spent too much time criticising Sinn Féin in the run up to the election.
They also highlighted leaks from the parliamentary party as a “deep concern”. Senators and TDs were also urged not to use mobile phones during the dicusssion.
Micheál Martin said that he plans to take up the role as Tánaiste next year as planned, with Leo Varadkar returning to the role as Taoiseach.
He also said that lessons must be learned from Fleming’s report “warts and all”.
Urging the party to get behind them, Mr Martin said, “I’ve been a member of the parliamentary party for many many years and I’ve rarely ever seen unanimity on many issues including who leads the party”.
Mr Martin continued, “So that’s not news but it’s my chance to hear people. It’s my job to listen and I think what’s important coming out of this meeting is that the party unites, that we have unity of purpose in facing the challenges particularly with very significant challenges lying ahead”.
“We said we wanted to go into government. Our membership overwhelmingly wanted us and voted for us to go into government”.
“Not about personalities” – Martin
Asked if he will take up the role of Tánaiste next year, Micheál Martin said, “We’ve entered a coalition government. We’ve made commitments in respect of that and I’m going to follow through on those commitments”.
“It’s not about personalities”, he continued. Insisting, “It’s about the issues. It’s about doing the things that matter to people”.
Future coalition with Fine Gael?
Mr Martin also had this to say when asked about a possible coalition with Fine Gael in the future.
“We’re focusing on implementing programme for government”.
“We want to deliver on the commitments we’ve given to the Irish people. Our membership does too”, he added.
He also stated, “Our membership voted for us to be in government and they want us to deliver and we will assess the situation at the end of this term of government, the parliamentary party will assess it and we’’’ take decisions at that time”.