Micheál Martin should step down as Fianna Fáil leader after term as Taoiseach - Lawless


Michael Staines
Michael Staines

12.09 12 Jul 2021


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The end of Micheál Martin’s term as Taoiseach would be the natural time for him to step down as Fianna Fáil leader, according to one of the party’s TDs.

Fianna Fáil’s poor showing in last week’s by-election has fanned unrest among some members of the party – with Sligo TD calling for Mr Martin to resign as leader “the sooner the better.”

Meanwhile former minister Barry Cowen called for a special meeting to address the 'alarming' showing in Dublin Bay South.

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Fianna Fáil candidate Deirdre Conroy picked up just 4.6% of the first preference vote on Thursday, the party’s worst-ever result in a by-election.

Leadership

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North James Lawless said the end of Mr Martin’s term as Taoiseach should also spell the end of his time as party leader.

“I think the whole party needs to look at itself – TDs, councillors, activists and support staff,” he said.

“We have to realise we haven’t connected with people in the by-election, we didn’t connect particularly well in the 2020 General Election and I think that, as a party who is in the business of winning seats and implementing policies, we need to look at how we offer ourselves, how we package ourself and what we stand for.

“So, I think there is a whole conversation to take place.

“In my mind the obvious time for that transition to take place – we hold the Taoiseach’s office until the end of next year – coming into that Christmas that would the natural time for that transition to take place.”

Government

Under the deal agreed with Fine Gael, Mr Martin is due to step down as Taoiseach at the end of 2022.

Deputy Lawless send candidates for leadership could begin declaring this time next year, with the new leader in place by January 2023.

“We have to ask ourselves what would be the natural order of things over the next couple years,” he said.

“The next general election will be in 2024/2025. That will be almost 15 years since the Taoiseach took over the party as leader. I think that will have been good innings. He will have had three general elections at that stage as well as a number local and European elections.

“Aside from the individual, I think at that stage, we are into a new era, we are into new demographics in the country and a new style of politics

“So, I think irrespective of any one individual, I think the party would want to be repackaging, reoffering, reviewing and re-evaluating what we offer to the people at that stage.”

He said it would be inappropriate to be calling for a vote of no confidence in Mr Martin right now – but noted: “There is a time and place down the line to re-evaluate all these things and I think it would make sense at that stage.”


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