TWO senior West Cork Fianna Fáil members are firmly backing their party leader, Micheál Martin, despite other party members calling for him to step down before the next election.
Former Seanad cathaoirleach Sen Denis O’Donovan said any attempt to oust Micheál Martin in the short or medium-term could damage the party, while TD Christopher O’Sullivan said talk of ousting the Taoiseach as party leader in the midst of a pandemic was ‘embarrassing’.
‘In extremely difficult circumstances he is doing a good job and any attempt to oust him as party leader would only detract from the very difficult issues that are facing the country at the moment, particularly Covid-19,’ said Sen O’Donovan. ‘They should stand squarely behind him,’ he said.
Several high profile party members, including former agriculture minister Barry Cowen – sacked by Martin from his position last summer – and Cork North West TD Michael Moynihan, have called for the Taoiseach to step down once his tenure finishes in December 2022.
Deputy Moynihan was quoted this week as saying ‘there isn’t a way in God’s earth he’ll be leading the party into the next election ... Everyone in the street knows he’ll be very lucky if he serves out his term as Taoiseach. He has fought three elections as leader. The one that was most successful was the one he was invisible in.’ However, his colleague West Cork TD Christopher O’Sullivan disagreed, saying he is quite happy with the current leadership.
‘I find it slightly embarrassing that in the middle of a pandemic, where cases are heading towards 7,000 per day, that we are talking about leadership changes within Fianna Fáil,’ Deputy O’Sullivan told The Southern Star.
‘I would be happier if people just got behind Micheál so we can focus on trying to suppress the number of Covid cases and carry on with the vaccine roll-out.’
Former Cork South West TD Margaret Murphy O’Mahony declined to comment.