A cruel game

Within weeks, this man could be Fianna Fáil's new leader... or unemployed

Micheal McGrath dropped by this week for a chat about his own future and that of his party.

mcgrath sup

MICHAEL MCGRATH loves politics but he knows it’s a precarious occupation.

The Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson is frequently linked with the leadership of the party and is the bookies’ favourite. But at this moment he’s just focussed on retaining his seat in Cork South-Central in an election that could be as early as next month.

Ironically McGrath shares a constituency with the current incumbent Micheál Martin, and he is certain the leader will be re-elected.

But on his own prospects, McGrath told this week that there’s only a 50-50 chance he’ll still be a TD after the next election:

Quinton O'Reilly /

I’d be a pretty foolish boy to be speculating about the leadership of the party when I am faced with that scenario. I could be looking for a different job in a few weeks or a few months, not the leadership of the party.

Speaking of foolish, McGrath is not too impressed by the behaviour of some TDs in the Dáil chamber.

In a wide-ranging interview he hits out at the macho environment in Leinster House and says that gender quotas are necessary even though he has mixed views about them.

“It’s the kick up the backside we needed on the issue of gender balance,” he said of his own party’s efforts to ensure 30% of its Dáil hopefuls are female.

Quinton O'Reilly /

On the upcoming election, McGrath believes the Taoiseach may now find it very hard to stop a November election happening given all the speculation this week.

“If he does go with that option it kind of throws the whole stability argument out the window because Labour have made it very clear they don’t want a November election,” the Fianna Fáil TD observes. 

Another frustration is that the banking inquiry will become void if an election is called, and all those hours he spent sitting in the bunker-like committee room will have been wasted.

McGrath says he’s “bursting with ideas” for the committee’s final report but they will, frustratingly, never see the light of day if the election is called before the end of the year.

That frustration aside, McGrath sees a life beyond politics and he told us what that might involve:

Quinton O'Reilly /

WATCH: ‘Fine Gael don’t care too much about ordinary people’

WATCH: Why Pearse Doherty eventually wants to sell sweets in Donegal

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.