Martin says he will remain Fianna Fáil leader after 2020 general election

Opposition leader says he would lead a government with other parties

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told reporters he wanted to achieve ‘as many seats as possible’ in the next election. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin told reporters he wanted to achieve ‘as many seats as possible’ in the next election. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Micheál Martin has said he will carry on as leader of Fianna Fáil in the aftermath of the 2020 general election.

The Opposition leader predicted Fianna Fáil would do “much better” in next year’s election than in 2016.

“I think we’re actually stronger in terms of our electoral potential and electoral performance going into the next general election than we were before 2016,” he said.

“I want to change the government, and we believe there should be a change of government. And that’s our objective.”

While no date has been set for the next year’s general election, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has previously stated his preference to go to the polls in May.

In an interview with political reporters, Mr Martin said his agenda for the next general election was to achieve “as many seats possible” and lead a government with other parties.

Mr Martin criticised Fine Gael’s stance on health, saying there had been a lack of honesty over the last number of years.

“My agenda in advance of this election is to achieve as many seats as we possibly can and to lead a government with other parties. I am not contemplating anything else at this stage,” he said.

“First of all, we want to lead the next government and we believe there should be a change of government. Fine Gael have been in office now for nearly eight years.

“I think on health, if you go back to the start of that eight years we were meant to have a universal health insurance (UHI) model.

“Then they got rid of the HSE board and it’s acknowledged now that it created mayhem at the top in terms of the Department of Health’s relationship with the HSE, the lack of any accountability and governance.

“They got rid of treatment purchase and things went steadily worse in health.

“I think there has been a lack of honesty around health.”

Stressing the need for a change of government, he said: “What we want to do is form a government with other parties on a policy platform.” - PA