The Taoiseach has said he is confident of his position as party leader despite the results of the Dublin Bay South by-election.
Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan this evening cast doubt on Micheal Martin’s leadership following the party’s result.
Asked if the Taoiseach should lead Fianna Fáil into the next election, were it to go ahead as planned in 2025, Mr O’Callaghan replied: “We’ll have to think about that.”
Mr O’Callaghan, a TD for Dublin Bay South and director of elections for the party candidate Councillor Deirdre Conroy, was speaking after early tallies put her at just 5% of the vote.
“Any leader who indicates a date of departure unnecessarily weakens himself.
“I fully understand why the Taoiseach says he’s going to lead Fianna Fail into the next general election,” Mr O’Callaghan said.
Asked if he was concerned for his own seat at the next general election, he replied: “Certainly if the result is similar to this, there will be more than faint alarm bells and I would have thought there will be alarm bells ringing in the heads of most Fianna Fáil TDs in Dublin.”
He added: “Although this has been extremely disappointing and beyond what we thought was going to happen, there has been an awareness in Fianna Fail since the last election that the party has been declining nationally and in Dublin in the polls.”
However, when the Taoiseach was questioned if he envisages any leadership issues arising from the performance of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in the Dublin Bay South by-election, he said “not at all”.
He answered “absolutely” when asked if he was confident of his position as leader of the country.
Mr Martin said canvassing during the campaign was very positive and that the party, as well as him, personally were well received.
He added that “Government’s rarely win bye-elections”.
“They’re not in any way markers for general elections,” he added.