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Fianna Fáil ministers back Taoiseach as by-election fallout rumbles on

Fianna Fáil’s Marc MacSharry called on Micheál Martin to resign as party leader this summer.

Micheal Martin's leadership of Fianna Fáil is under the microscope.
Micheal Martin's leadership of Fianna Fáil is under the microscope.
Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

EDUCATION MINISTER NORMA Foley and Public Expenditure Minister Michael McGrath have publicly backed Micheál Martin after a Fianna Fáil colleague called on the Taoiseach to step down as party leader.

Martin’s leadership of the party has come under the spotlight following its disastrous performance in the Dublin Bay South by-election.

The party’s candidate Deirdre Conroy secured just 4.6% of the first preference vote, its worst-ever result in a by-election.

Sligo TD Marc MacSharry urged Martin to resign during the Dáil recess this summer.

“The sooner the better as far as I’m concerned, quite frankly,” he told Newstalk.

“It’s not my preference he would lead us into the next general election.

“I think a party with a performance of below 5%, with the history, culture and heritage of Fianna Fáil, must address that as a matter of the utmost urgency,” MacSharry added.

This afternoon, MacSharry also tweeted an image of an egg and a chicken which read: “If an egg is broken by an outside force, life ends, if broken by inside forces, life begins. Great things always begin from the inside.”

Former Agriculture Minister Barry Cowen also called for a special meeting to address the “alarming” election result.

However, Minister Foley rejected MacSharry’s comments and paid tribute to Martin’s leadership.

“Micheal is a very experienced, solution-focused leader. We see the benefit of that in Government, we also see the benefit of that in Fianna Fail,” she said on The Week In Politics on RTÉ.

Foley said she does not believe there are 10 TDs in Fianna Fáil who would back a heave against Martin but added that there is “a job of work to be done” following the poor result in Dublin Bay South.

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Prominent leadership contender Jim O’Callaghan, Fianna Fail’s director of elections, said he would not sign a motion of no confidence in the Taoiseach.

O’Callaghan told RTE’s This Week programme that he is interested in leading the party, but would not do anything to undermine Martin.

“I believe it’s an honour and a privilege (to lead the party), but I’m not going to do anything just to undermine the leader or give the media an impression that there’s something going on when I don’t think there is,” he said.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Michael McGrath also used Twitter to weigh in on the leadership situation.

The Cork South Central TD threw his weight behind his constituency colleague, saying Fianna Fáil faced an “outstanding opportunity and a monumental challenge.”

“To succeed, we need to support our Taoiseach, our team, work together, have unity of purpose and show the public that their concerns are our priorities at all times,” McGrath said.

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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