FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER Micheal Martin has said Fianna Fáil, if in opposition after the next election, would support the next government in its financial decisions – as long as it abided by the terms of the current coalition’s Four Year Plan.
Speaking on RTÉ’s The Frontline last night, Martin said he hoped his party wouldn’t end up in opposition at the next election, but that if it did, it would be willing to offer its backing to a prospective new government if its economic recovery policies were broadly in line with those of the outgoing government.
“We will actually support the right policies for the country, which is what the basis of the Four Year Plan is,” Martin told Irish Times columnist Sarah Carey.
Asked if this was “a Tallaght Strategy for Fianna Fáil” by host Pat Kenny, Martin unequivocally responded:
Absolutely. It has to be. There’s no other altnari. And that’s why last weekend when I was discussing both the Labour Party plan and the Fine Gael party plan, I gave credit to elements of the Fine Gael party plan, which I thought was credible – at least it had a four year plan; Labour had a twelve month plan.
You see, it’s wider than Fianna Fáil, this issue. This isn’t just about Fianna Fáil.
When asked later if he would prefer, as a prospective Fianna Fáil leader, to lead his party into the next general election, Martin was less cut and dried.
As far as I’m concerned, I’m support Brian Cowen. He’s the leader of the party. Obviously I’m supporting the Taoiseach going into the election.
Martin admitted he had declared his interest in becoming party leader, but had only done so on a hypothetical basis and that he would not be seeking to force a vacancy.
The Foreign Affairs minister, a TD for Cork South Central since 1989, is considered a likely contender for the Fianna Fáil leadership if it was to become vacant. During the current Taoiseach’s woes, however, he has consistently given his public backing to current leader Brian Cowen.