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Michéal Martin says Fianna Fail may now look to Northern Ireland

Leader says party is looking to “new challenges” including getting involved in Northern political scene and changing what it means to be in Opposition.

Image: PA Images/Niall Carson

FIANNA FAIL leader Michéal Martin has said that his decimated party is looking at entering the political scene in the North.

He said the party was “actively considering” a move towards getting involved “on the ground” in Northern politics, although he denied that it would be as part of a merge with the SDLP.

He told RTE’s Radio’s News at One:

We are a republican party and we will advance that postition.

He said the party had taken on lots of work in peace and reconciliation and wanted to extend that participation.

Martin, who yesterday retained his seat in Cork South Central, said the fundamental factor in Fianna Fail’s fall from grace in this general election was the economic recession, which he described as “the worst since 1928″. He said: “The impact of that is enormous and there is a wider range of issues as well, 15 years in power, all of that is cumulative…”

The challenge for Fianna Fail now is to “remain a vital force” in Irish public and political life, he said. As for the role of the Fianna Fail TDs returned to the Dail – 15 have been elected so far – he said that they would be opposition, but not as the public had known it. He said:

I picked up behind all of the anger that people undoubtedly have is that we must change the way we do politics. They don’t want opposition for the sake of opposition.

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