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Micheál Martin confirms cabinet resignation

Martin steps down from his ministerial post following Cowen’s successful party leadership motion this evening – but Cowen insists they will remain good friends.

Image: AP Photo/Peter Morrison

MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS Micheál Martin has confirmed his resignation from the cabinet following his party’s decision to retain Brian Cowen as leader.

Addressing the media after the vote, Martin said he did not regret his actions over the last few days, and said he had been clear he would insist on resigning if his views “did not prevail”.

Martin had been the most publicly vocal opponent to Cowen’s continued leadership of the party, saying he was concerned about the future of the party.

After the vote, Martin said “one has to make a stand; one has to force the issue”, adding that the leadership challenge had been a good and healthy debate for the party. He said a lot of things were said that needed to be said.

He told RTÉ’s Prime Time this wasn’t a heave in the classic sense of a heave, but this “wasn’t about tearing anybody down”.

Martin said he had spoken to the Taoiseach last week to discuss his concerns and that when other issues happened in parallel with that, he decided to go forward into the debate on the motion of confidence.

He said the party would now focus on the election ahead.

At a press conference on Sunday evening, Martin said he had spoken to Cowen about his concern over the party’s lack of preparedness for the election ahead and had concerns about going into an election with Cowen as leader.

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He said he had offered the Taoiseach his resignation, but Cowen had not accepted it.

Cowen confirmed tonight he has now accepted Martin’s cabinet resignation.

He said Martin remains a “very good friend” and a “good colleague” and had the best of motivations in his position on the confidence motion, thanking him for how he had conducted his “campaign” on the issue.

The Taoiseach said he was “deeply grateful” for the support of the party and it was important that “we all unite behind that decision” and “defend the honour of our party”.

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