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Éamon Ó Cuív admits Fianna Fáil leadership ambitions

The Social Protection minister, and grandson of party founder Éamon de Valera, says he’d like to lead the party.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Archive

ONE OF BRIAN COWEN’S cabinet allies in Fianna Fáil’s internal power struggle has admitted that he would like to become the leader of the party.

Minister for Social Protection Éamon Ó Cuív tonight said that he would be interested in succeeding Brian Cowen as Fianna Fáil leader, telling Raidió na Gaeltachta that he would become a candidate for the top job if that was the wish of the party’s ordinary members.

His statement came with the provision, however, that he remained fully supportive of Cowen’s leadership.

The declaration of interest came just hours after Ó Cuív had told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland – and then Newstalk – that he maintained full confidence in Brian Cowen, and insisted that his cabinet colleagues who may not have shared his views should quit the cabinet.

“If you’re a member of Cabinet, you’re selected by the Taoiseach and if you didn’t have confidence in that Taoiseach, my belief is that you should resign,” Ó Cuív said.

Ó Cuív, although not considered one of the more prominent members of the cabinet, would have good political pedigree: he is the grandson of Éamon de Valera, who founded the party in March 1926.

The de Valera family has been represented in the Dáil ever since its formation.

Ó Cuív’s admission came as Cowen was meeting tourism minister Mary Hanafin, as part of his series of meetings with frustrated Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators.

Cowen has said that he will make a decision on his future as party leader once those meetings have been concluded tomorrow evening; tomorrow’s meetings will include a conversation with finance minister Brian Lenihan.

The continued fight for the leadership of Fianna Fáil comes as Labour tables a motion of no confidence in the government; this evening chief whip John Curran said, however, that the motion would not be discussed in government time, and would have to wait for Labour’s Private Members Time the week after next.

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About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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