Kenny's leadership style criticised
Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has attacked Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s style of leadership, describing it as partisan, personalised and “being much more about spin than substance”.
In sharp criticism of the Taoiseach’s performance in the Dáil and in media interviews, Mr Martin says it is “regrettable” that Mr Kenny has been selective in his approach and has avoided live interviews on TV and radio.
“He is overly partisan in terms of ideas that emanate from the Opposition. He attacks the person rather than the ball initially and that is a tactic that is beginning to wear thin,” said Mr Martin.
The Fianna Fáil leader, in an interview with The Irish Times, said Mr Kenny was taking the wrong approach as Taoiseach and needed to be more careful. He also claimed that promised Dáil reform had not materialised in a meaningful manner.
He cited the debate on the Bill on Údarás na Gaeltachta before the summer recess, which prompted a walkout by Opposition TDs. They claimed sufficient time had not been given to debate amendments.
“We had a ridiculous situation with a fundamental Bill that is doing away with electoral franchise [ending elections for the Údaras board]. I also asked him about Seanad reform and he said it would not be ready until the latter half of 2013. I asked him to allow us see the work that has been done so far but he refused. It’s politics as usual with no change. It’s a far cry from ‘Paddy wants to know’,” he said, in a reference to the Taoiseach’s phrase from his post-election interview with RTÉ last year.
Mr Martin conceded Mr Kenny had brought a “lot of energy and so on” to his role but he maintained his general approach had been shallow.
On his own party’s performance since the election, Mr Martin said a number of events, including the party’s ardfheis and its role in the fiscal treaty campaign, had demonstrated Fianna Fáil was on a path of recovery.
He dismissed suggestions that Sinn Féin had taken the initiative and that Fianna Fáil was underestimating the threat it posed. “We are underestimating nobody and concentrating on a Fianna Fáil party that is fit for purpose in the 21st century. If we are to continue to look over our shoulders we will never advance our central agenda. [Focusing on policy and ideas] will gain greater credence than out-shouting Sinn Féin.”
Mr Martin argued that there had to be depth and substance to Fianna Fáil’s approach. “We cannot go for short-term and shallow opportunism.”