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fianna fáíl tensions

Tánaiste rejects O'Dea's 'party lens' criticism, says public want to be put above party politics

Limerick TD Willie O’Dea criticised the idea that the government should run the full term.

TÁNAISTE MICHEÁL MARTIN has criticised a member of his own party stating that the public want the country’s needs put before that of any political party. 

Writing in the Sunday Independent over the weekend, Limerick City TD Willie O’Dea said allowing Fine Gael to have two-weeks to “reset” while expecting the other parties to remain static, “is the antithesis of partnership — an antithesis the leaderships of those partner parties seem willing to not just tolerate, but to facilitate”.

He also criticised the idea that the government should run the full term stating that the strategy is “politically inept and contradicts every basic precept of good governance”.

When asked about his party colleague’s comments, Martin criticised O’Dea for viewing everything from the perspective of the Fianna Fáil party. 

“What Willie has said is Willie is looking at it totally through the lens of the party. The public out there when they watch how political parties behave see that straightaway, and don’t necessarily appreciate it.

“I think they’d prefer their politicians to look at things through the lens of the public’s needs, and the concerns of the public, more broadly, that has always been the Fianna Fáil agenda and that’s what I’ve been doing in government,” he said. 

He said it would have been a “very short term” approach to “exploit” the decision Leo Varadkar made to step aside as Taoiseach and to have a snap election. 

“I think that would have been seen through very quickly” by the public, said Martin, adding that people have real problems they want to see addressed. 

The Tánaiste said the vast majority of the Fianna Fáil membership, about 80%, voted for the programme for government, and he is honouring that.

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