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Fianna Fáil senator says it's time for Micheál Martin to stand down as leader

Senator Keith Swanick said that Fianna Fáil “in its current guise” doesn’t represent change.

Micheál Martin speaking to the press about government talks earlier this week.
Micheál Martin speaking to the press about government talks earlier this week.
Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

A FIANNA FÁIL senator has written to all the party’s councillors calling for Micheál Martin to stand down as party leader. 

Senator Keith Swanick told party colleagues that Fianna Fáil needs “fundamental, root and branch change” and can no longer be dictated by a “monocratic agenda”. 

The letter – seen by TheJournal.ie – was sent prior to the publication of the latest opinion poll showing a dramatic surge for Sinn Féin as it opens up a 15-point lead on Fianna Fáil.

In the election last month, Fianna Fáil won 38 seats, Sinn Féin won 37 and Fine Gael won 35. Both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have ruled out working with Sinn Féin, but beyond that we are no closer to forming a government over three weeks after polling day.

Swanick’s intervention is the first from a member of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party calling for Martin to resign. 

In his letter, he said that the public don’t see Fianna Fáil “in its current guise” as representing the change called for in the election. 

“Our loss of core identity and values is reflected in the polls,” Swanick said. “Not only have we lost our appeal to younger people, now lifelong supporters have had enough.”

Swanick accused Martin of having an “inner circle” with ordinary Oireachtas members feeling disconnected from.

He said: “The concerns and ideas of many Oireachtas Members often fall on deaf ears.

There should be no place in modern-day political discourse that facilitates a monocratic agenda.

The Mayo senator then called for Martin to go.

“It is time that Micheál Martin makes the honourable decision to stand down as Leader of Fianna Fáil and allow a new phase of renewal and reform to commence,” Swanick said.

His immense contribution to the Party and public life should not be underestimated. He is steeped in the tradition of Fianna Fáil and his work ethic is unquestionable. This is not an irresponsible demand even given the current negotiations surrounding Government formation.

Swanick added that the electorate will reward Fianna Fáil if they’re “brave enough” to make the tough decisions and “again offer a real alternative vision for the people of Ireland”. 

Fianna Fáil is due to resume talks with other parties this week, including Fine Gael, about the possibility of forming a new government. However, that government won’t be in place when the Dáil sits on Thursday. 

With reporting from Christina Finn

About the author:

Sean Murray

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