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Peter Casey says he wants Micheál Martin's job because the FF leader is 'too nice' to take on Leo Varadkar

Some senior Fianna Fáil politicians have rejecting Casey’s courting of the party.

Defeated presidential election candidate Peter Casey.
Defeated presidential election candidate Peter Casey.
Image: PA Images

PETER CASEY HAS said that he wants to replace Micheál Martin as Fianna Fáil leader, claiming that Martin is “too nice” to challenge Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

The runner-up in the presidential election spoke yesterday about his desire to run for the Dáil in Donegal, despite Fianna Fáil already having chosen their two candidates for the next general election.

Casey’s courting of Fianna Fáil was rejected by party deputies Timmy Dooley and Niall Collins but speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke, Casey said that he has yet to speak to the either of them or to Martin.

“I can certainly understand why Micheál wouldn’t want me, because I actually want his job. So that’s understandable,” Casey said.

“Charlie McConalogue is certainly a very strong candidate but I definitely will top the polls in Donegal when I stand. I’d like to stand as a Fianna Fáil (sic). ”

Sitting Donegal TDs McConalogue and Pat ‘The Cope’ Gallagher have been selected to run again for Fianna Fáil in the next general election.

Casey described Gallagher “a bit disingenuous” for being elected and seeking the role of Ceann Comhairle. Gallagher is currently Leas Ceann Comhairle of the Dáil.

During the interview, Casey described Donegal as “the forgotten county” and also took aim at the Confidence and Supply deal between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, which underpins Varadkar’s minority government.

You have to be aligned with a party to be successful in Ireland. The vote last week was not so much a vote for Peter Casey, it was a vote for the frustration. The people feel there hasn’t really been a government for the past three-and-a-half years with the Confidence and Supply, it just hasn’t worked to anybody’s benefit.

“I got number ones from 342,000 people, I think that that should send a message and should also resonate with how disconnected they are with the people in middle Ireland. The people who are getting up and working and feeling that there’s no light at the end of the tunnel,” Casey added.

Collins said yesterday that Casey could not “just rock up” and run for Fianna Fáil, adding that he personally would not like to see him in the party.

In response to Collins, Casey said today: “He obviously has made no effort to speak to me, I’d be delighted to talk to him.”

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Irish presidential election Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Peter Casey met on Saturday in Dublin Castle. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Casey also said he does not think Micheál Martin would take a phone call from him if he tried to contact him.

I think Micheál is a very good and decent and hard-working politician. I think that he’s too nice to take on the likes of Leo Varadkar, who made scandalous, racist remarks about me and hasn’t apologised yet. And he knows I’m absolutely not a racist. He knows I’ve spent more time in India than he has.

During the campaign, the Taoiseach asked the public to send “a very clear message” to Casey in the presidential election vote by rejecting his deeply “divisive” and “regrettable” views about the Travelling community.

Speaking this afternoon on RTÉ’s News at One, Timmy Dooley TD said that Casey has not offered any solutions to the problems he has spoken about. 

“I think there are people who voted for Peter Casey who fully knew Michael D was going to be president,” Dooley said.

“I think there was some level of disenchantment with the way things are. But politics is about solving problems and in my view the approach that Peter Casey is taking, or appears to be taking, or at least is talking about taking, in my view isn’t offering any solutions whatsoever.” 

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Rónán Duffy

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