The next Fianna Fáil leader must come from Dublin, according to former party TD Marc MacSharry.
Deputy MacSharry resigned from the party ten months ago – insisting party leader Micheál Martin was running a ‘one-man show’ and refusing to let members join in decision making.
In recent days, several party backbenchers have called for Mr Martin to step down as party leader when the office of Taoiseach reverts to Fine Gael in December.
Speaking to The Pat Kenny Show in County Sligo as part of the Newstalk Summer Tour this morning, Deputy MacSharry suggested he would look to rejoin the party if Micheál Martin moved on.
He said the party needs someone new at the top – and that person needs to come from the capital.
“My personal view is, with a party in the position Fianna Fáil is in; with some 53 seats in the Greater Dublin Area, I think the leader must come from Dublin,” he said
“That brings the choice to Jim O’Callaghan, to Darragh O’Brien and perhaps as a dark horse, but he might decide it is for later in his career, Jack Chambers.
“I would say the leader is likely to come from that.
“If you were to emanate further out from Dublin from that, then Barry Cowan in the Midlands – but certainly, it would have to come from the Greater Dublin Area in my view.”
He said his decision to resign from the party ‘ultimately came down to integrity’ adding, “as you said, it was a one-man show.”
When Pat suggested the Taoiseach ‘doesn’t come across as dictatorial’, Deputy MacSharry said: “No he hides it very well indeed.”
“Unfortunately, as somebody who has been on his front bench, as somebody who knows him for 32 years and as somebody who was absolutely committed to his elevation to Taoiseach and indeed voted for him for that role, sadly it is a one-man show.
“Fianna Fáil parliamentary policy is determined by focus groups under his control through FF headquarters and not, unfortunately, from the immense talent that is within the ranks of the FF frontbenchers.”
He said it will soon be time for whoever plans to challenge Mr Martin to come forward.
“Ultimately, I think, for anything to happen, you need one of the would be successors to put their hand up and say, yes, I am interested in the leadership and yes I intend to put the question, as it were, come next December – because that is what the vast majority want,” he said.
“Without that as a catalyst, Micheál Martin may well continue.”
He said the first to come forward will gain support from people who are concerned about the future of the party.
“This is about the survival of Fianna Fáil and I think it’s going to take a leader to step up, to become that catalyst and say, I want to be the alternative come December,” he said.
“I think the first to do that will find people rallying around them pretty quick.”
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