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Dublin: -1°C Sunday 6 December 2020

Could Micheál Martin's biggest problem actually be his own party?

Here’s everything you need to know about what’s happening in Irish politics right now…

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Everyone’s talking about… 

Between his association with the last government and stagnant poll numbers Micheál Martin probably has enough on his plate without his own party’s TDs and Senators tearing themselves apart. It appears the Fianna Fáil leader had enough at yesterday’s parliamentary party meeting and delivered a few home truths.

1916 Programme of Events Micheál Martin and one of the party's chief critics Éamon Ó Cuív. Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Prior to the meeting there were indications that Martin would be having a few words with those who had criticised the direction of the party in the wake of more poor poll numbers, and by all accounts this is exactly what happened as he hit out at a lack of discipline.

Martin can count on the support of those loyal to his leadership and who share his belief about infighting doing Fianna Fáil no favours. Timmy Dooley articulated as much in an interview with TheJournal.ie yesterday.

Source: Video: Nicky Ryan/TheJournal.ie

A lot appears to be riding on the outcome of the Carlow-Kilkenny by-election next month where former TD Bobby Aylward is the clear favourite. If Fianna Fáil doesn’t take the seat there’ll be fresh questions about Martin’s leadership, but who is the alternative? There is no messiah, as Willie O’Dea now famously remarked and that could be a bigger problem than Martin’s own internal critics.

The agenda

  • 9.30am: Michael Noonan takes finance questions in the Dáil. 
  • 10am: The Education Committee discusses developments in Irish language education. 
  • 10.30am: The banking inquiry meets in private session. 
  • 12pm: It’s Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil. What will Enda Kenny have in store for us today? 

enda shuffle Source: RTÉ Player

  • 12pm: The Seanad’s Order of Business could be worth tuning into in light of Senator Jim Walsh’s controversial comments last night. 
  • 2pm: The Finance Committee discusses the liquidation of Setanta Insurance with the liquidator, Department of Finance officlas and the Courts Service. At 4.15pm it talks to Brendan Howlin about the new FOI Act. 
  • 2.30pm: The Justice Committee discusses undocumented migrants living Ireland with the Immigrant Control Platform
  • 3pm: With milk quotas abolished at midnight Simon Coveney is at the Teagasc Dairy Conference in Citywest. 
  • 4pm: Aodhán Ó Ríordáin talks Direct Provision with the Public Service Committee. 
  • The Fine Gael and Labour parliamentary parties meet in Leinster House this evening.

Inside Leinster House 

Some suspect that John McGuinness’s clash with the Ceann Comhairle during yesterday’s Order of Business was an effort to regain the limelight from Patrick McKee, now a constituency rival following his defection to Renua. The PAC chairman had an almighty ding-dong with Séan Barrett before departing the chamber. It’s worth a watch.

Source: Video: TheJournal.ie/YouTube

What the others are saying 

  • Micheál Martin hit out at some of his own TDs for having a pathetic and juvenile lack of discipline at a meeting yesterday, the Irish Times reports.

In case you missed it 

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

On the Twitter machine… 

You would have had us without that hashtag, Joan…

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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