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MacSharry says Taoiseach should not get 'overly defensive' about criticisms made towards him

MacSharry says FF has lost sight of its principes.

Sligo TD Marc MacSharry says what he said to Micheál Martin was not personal.
Sligo TD Marc MacSharry says what he said to Micheál Martin was not personal.
Image: Leah Farrell

SLIGO TD MARC MacSharry has called on Micheál Martin to “lead” the party, while defending the comments he made about the Fianna Fáil leader last night.

At the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting yesterday evening, the TD launched a scathing attack on the Taoiseach, stating that he was very unhappy with the way Martin and other Fianna Fáil ministers came out to bat for Varadkar.

During the meeting, MacSharry said he was disgusted at how Micheál Martin was ruining the party, and blamed him for the party’s poor performance in the polls.

MacSharry said he was “beyond disgust and depression at issues of the last number of days”, telling the Taoiseach that there was “palpable anger throughout the country” from party members to see Martin out “as chief flag flyer for Leo”.

MacSharry accused Martin of dragging the party down to 11% in the polls, stating “you need to accept you are part of the problem. Not the solution. At the moment you are the problem. I am disgusted with your conduct”.

Martin is understood to have retorted that MacSharry’s tone of criticism was very personal, in which the Sligo TD responded by stating that it was “not personal, but fact” and if he couldn’t take the criticism, he shouldn’t be leading the party.

Defending his comments today, MacSharry told RTÉ presenter Claire Byrne that the IMO agreement leak controversy was ”handled very very badly”.

Double standards

He said it is clear that the Taoiseach is now presiding “over a double standards, and there’s one rule for one, and no rules for others”, highlighting the case of Phil Hogan when was removed from office as a result of an inadvertent leak by one of his advisors to do with the budget a number of years ago.

MacSharry said now “we’re expected to judge this misdemeanor based on the track record of somebody, rather than for the breach”, adding that Leo Varadkar’s explanation of what happened when he gave a copy of an agreement negotiated between the Government and the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) to a rival GP group last year as a “fairy tale”.

He said there has been issues in terms of communication, management and leadership in the Fianna Fail party “for some time now”.

“I think this particular issue over the course of the last week, does not sit well with me and indeed many people throughout the country, including something of our members who have been in contact with me about. I think business needs to be done differently. The issue needed to be raised, I raised it at the appropriate forum last night, and it’s a matter for the Taoiseach now to reflect on his own performance. Because things do need to improve,” he said.

Trust in politicians

He said trust of politicians nationally has been eroded through many issues over the years, and this has added to it.

“Consistency is paramount. Nobody is seeking, and I’m certainly not to have the guillotine set up in St Stephen’s Green for every misdemeanor,” he said, stating that perhaps there’s a role for the Standards and Public Office (Sipo) to do a book of quantum of sorts on what the sanction should be for particular breaches.

He said he took immediate issue with Martin when he said MacSharry was getting personal, with the Sligo TD stating this morning that there is “no need to be overly defensive about the facts”. 

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MacSharry said he was not going to leave the party, stating he thinks it is best to change matters from within.

“In recent years, we have lost sight as a party in what our principles are, what made us the most successful political party in Western Europe in history,” he said.

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