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'She's done a hatchet job on Micheál Martin': Averil Power's former pals aren't happy

Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators hit back at their former colleague yesterday.

Averil Power outside Leinster House yesterday
Averil Power outside Leinster House yesterday
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

FIANNA FÁIL TDS and Senators rounded on their former colleague Averil Power after she quit the party yesterday.

In what appeared to be a coordinated effort, several members of the party’s frontbench strongly criticised Power after she quit the party and launched a blistering attack on the leadership.

Power is the latest high-profile member to quit Fianna Fáil following the departures of councillors David McGuinness and Patrick McKee earlier this year.

A senior frontbencher, who declined to be named, told TheJournal.ie: “I am very disappointed in her. She’s done a hatchet job on Micheál Martin.”

“Nobody has got more support from him than she did in the past few years. It’s very unfair.”

Another TD said they once considered the senator a possible future leader of Fianna Fail.

Several party figures who we spoke to raised Power’s apparent attempts to ensure she was the only Fianna Fáil candidate in Dublin Bay North – a move she later denied on Twitter yesterday.

“She hadn’t done the work to get selected at convention and yet she wanted to be the only candidate,” one senior party figure said.

The party was quick the remove her profile from its website yesterday afternoon:

Justice spokesperson Niall Collins said he “obviously wouldn’t agree with” Power’s comments about Martin, and described her criticism of his leadership and the party’s policies as “unfounded”. However, he added:

I would accept that she’s right when she says some TDs didn’t pull their weight in canvassing for the marriage referendum, but that’s not exclusive to Fianna Fáil – it’s across parties.”

He claimed her departure would not damage the party and that “life will go on”.

Power’s Seanad colleague Thomas Byrne said he was very disappointed and would have “considered her a friend”. He said there was “no doubt” the move was political. On her criticism of Martin, Byrne said:

It’s completely unfair. It’s ridiculous – she wouldn’t be in the Seanad only for him. There were people who didn’t want to vote for her but said ‘I will because Micheál asked me to.’

Senator Mary White, who is now the only woman in the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party, described Power’s claims that other members did not campaign for a Yes vote in the referendum as “outrageous”.

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Speaking to Drivetime on RTÉ last night, Fianna Fáil’s Seanad leader Darragh O’Brien denied claims by Power that she was laughed at when she suggested campaigners in the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election wear Yes badges.

While, another party figure bemoaned the fact that Power’s resignation would overshadow that by-election success.

Fianna Fáil’s newest TD, Bobby Aylward, is due to arrive in Leinster House later today but any media opportunities are likely to be dominated by the Power resignation.

- additional reporting from Órla Ryan 

Read: Micheál Martin comes out swinging against Averil Power… and she’s swung back

Read: Averil Power launches scathing attack on Fianna Fáil as she quits party

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Hugh O'Connell

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