Fianna Fáil TDs target ard fheis as time for Martin to announce departure

Weekend reports quoting Kilkenny TD John McGuinness, who suggested Fianna Fáil deputies would not vote for Leo Varadkar to become taoiseach, have been dismissed by ministers and backbenchers.
Fianna Fáil TDs target ard fheis as time for Martin to announce departure

Kenneth Fox

Fianna Fáil leader and Taoiseach Micheál Martin will not be ousted but is expected to set out a timescale for his departure, with some of his TDs saying his ard fheis speech is the ideal occasion to do so.

Weekend reports quoting Kilkenny TD John McGuinness, who suggested Fianna Fáil deputies would not vote for Leo Varadkar to become taoiseach, have been dismissed by ministers and backbenchers.

As the Irish Examiner reports, Mr McGuinness said December would be a "natural timing" for Mr Martin to step down as party leader when he relinquishes the Taoiseach's office.

Fianna Fáil members should refuse to back the Fine Gael leader if Mr Martin does not step down, Mr McGuinness said.

His comments have been dismissed as a “careless solo run” by other Fianna Fáil TDs.

The Fianna Fáil ard fheis is scheduled for September 30th and October 1st.

Cork East TD James O’Connor said “now is not the time” for the leadership to be discussed.

“It is very important that we have stability at the top. I do not agree with calls for him to go. I do feel when it comes to the party’s poll ratings, they are a concern and need a collective focus,” he said.

Mr O’Connor called for a review of the programme for government.

Offaly TD Barry Cowen said the party’s future is not dependent on personalities or who is at the helm.

“It’s about the Fianna Fáil leadership being more chief than chairman. It’s not about being seen as part of an entourage but leading one,” he said.

“It’s about depth and substance, policy priorities, and clear, distinct measures that we want to implement to address housing, childcare, healthcare, regional development, energy provision, just transition, and unification.

Others were more critical of the calls for a change of leader later this year.

Limerick Minister of State Niall Collins said speculation about a change in leader in the run-up to Christmas is "nonsense".

“I think it’s just another serving of nonsense from John McGuinness. He cries wolf about every six to nine months,

"He’s had an issue with everybody that’s ever been a leader of Fianna Fáil," Mr Collins said.

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