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FF parliamentary party holds crunch meeting after Ó Cuív resignation

TDs and Senators met late last night as Éamon Ó Cuív also withdrew his name from the running for FF’s Leas-Úachtarán job.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Updated, 07:47

THE FIANNA FÁIL parliamentary party held a tense meeting last night to discuss the resignation of Éamon Ó Cuív as the deputy leader of the party.

Ó Cuív – the grandson of party founder Éamon de Valera – resigned the position yesterday because of fundamental differences with the party over its stance on the fiscal compact deal.

The Galway West TD had yesterday said the parliamentary party had yet to decide on its stance for the referendum – and had refused to disclose how he himself would vote – while party leader Micheál Martin insisted the party would back the treaty in the forthcoming vote.

Ó Cuív yesterday revealed that he had offered his resignation to Martin on Tuesday evening – just hours after the government officially confirmed the need for a public vote on the deal – and that it had been accepted after a second meeting between the men yesterday.

Ó Cuív was in attendance at last night’s meeting, which continued until shortly before 11pm, where the party’s 18 other TDs and 14 senators discussed the fallout of his resignation from the front bench.

After the meeting, former defence minister Willie O’Dea insisted the party was now united on the matter of the referendum treaty – and told RTÉ News that he believed Ó Cuív would only “temporarily” be away from the front bench.

In the meantime, Ó Cuív has also withdrawn his name from the election for Fianna Fáil’s Leas Úachtarán position, which was to be filled at this weekend’s party Árd Fheis at the RDS in Dublin. Ó Cuív was one of seven candidates running for the five Leas Úachtarán positions.

In the programme for the Árd Fheis, Ó Cuív had said he was seeking the vice-presidency because he felt he would bring “the vision, energy, experience and commitment necessary to ensure the re-growth of our party so that it can continue to serve the nation.”

Speaking on Newstalk’s Breakfast show this morning, former EU affairs minister Dick Roche said Ó Cuív had always been “a Eurosceptic” and that in this case, his feelings had “come to the fore”.

Although Ó Cuív remains a member of the Fianna Fáíl parliamentary party for the time being, Micheál Martin told RTÉ’s Drivetime yesterday that he understood Ó Cuív would vote against the referendum legislation when it came before the Dáil.

If Ó Cuív breaks with the party whip at this point, he would then automatically forfeit his membership of the Fianna Fáíl parliamentary party, leaving the party with just 18 Dáil TDs.

It is understood that the appointment of a new deputy leader will not be made before the weekend’s Árd Fheis.

Read: Éamon Ó Cuív resigns as Fianna Fáil deputy leader

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Gavan Reilly

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