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Fianna Fáil leader apologises for party's mistakes

Micheál Martin offered an unequivocal apology for the party’s actions while in Government during his Ard Fhéis speech this evening.

MICHEÁL MARTIN USED his televised keynote address at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fhéis tonight to issue an apology for the mistakes his party made while in Government.

Speaking to thousands of party delegates at the RDS, Martin admitted that while in Government, Fianna Fáil “should have acted differently”.

“We made mistakes. We got things wrong. And we are sorry for that.”

His words, mid way through his speech, were met by a round of applause and a standing ovation.

He said that the party’s dismal result in last year’s General Election was the people of Ireland holding it to account.

People were angry and they showed it, delivering a historic defeat for us. We fully acknowledge the scale of the defeat.

Although that will be the most notable aspect of the speech, Martin also spoke about the party’s need for “deep and real” renewal. He told delegates attending the Ard Fhéis that Fianna Fáil will not be a destructive or cynical Opposition party.

However, he still offered numerous criticisms about the current Fine Gael/Labour Government. He launched attacks on the coalition’s decisions on education, budgets and law-making.

This is a government making many unfair and damaging decisions, and we will never shirk from challenging them.

He called for a political system that does not concentrate most of the power in the hands of 15 people “sitting at the cabinet table”. As it stands, Dáil Eireann is becoming “more irrelevant and ineffective”, he said.

During his speech, Martin also praised the “historic presidency” of Mary McAleese and paid tribute to the “courageous work” carried out by the late Brian Lenihan.

IN FULL: Micheál Martin’s speech (and apology) at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fhéis>

AS IT HAPPENED: Micheál Martin’s speech at the Fianna Fáil Ard Fhéis>

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