Martin unveils FF Dáil front bench


Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has accused the Government of “dishonesty and cynicism” in the way it approached the general election.

Mr Martin said the Government “knew well” the economic situation in the run up to the election and yet they opposed “every single measure” introduced in the budget only to retain them in full once in power.

“During the campaign they didn’t have to say what they said, they didn’t have to make the false commitments…They opposed every single measure we introduced in relation to the budget where they described some of the measures as savage and they have implemented everyone of them in full,” he told RTÉ’s News at One.

Mr Martin, who named Brian Lenihan as his party’s front bench finance spokesman today, was responding to a question about whether he stood over the economic record of the previous administration.

“The present government clearly does because it is standing over the bulk of that,” he said.

“What I find extraordinary is really the question should be targeted at Government ministers who in the election campaign said things completely different to what they are now saying.”

Mr Martin said the former minister for finance will add his experience to younger colleagues on the front bench giving “a very good sensible balance to bring to the table”.

The Fianna Fáil leader named himself in the role of party spokesman for Northern Ireland. Whip Seán Ó Fearghail is the new spokesman on foreign affairs and trade while Cork TD Billy Kelleher takes health.

Others include: Michael McGrath (public expenditure and financial sector reform), Sean Fleming (public sector reform), Brendan Smith (education and skills), Willie O’Dea (enterprise, jobs and innovation), Barry Cowen (social protection), Niall Collins (environment, community and local government), Charlie McConalogue (Children), Dara Calleary (justice, equality and defence), Timmy Dooley (transport, tourism and sport) Eamon Ó Cuiv (communications, energy and natural resources), Michael Moynihan (agriculture and food), Robert Troy (arts and heritage), John Browne (marine and fisheries) Seamus Kirk (horticulture and rural affairs) and Micheal Kitt (housing, planning and gaeltacht affairs).

Mr Martin also nominated Carlow Kilkenny TD John McGuinness for the chair of the Public Accounts Committee. He will double as spokesman on small business regulatory framework.

Dublin south east Councillor Jim O’Callaghan is the party’s legal adviser.

Mr Martin said those named have the “balance of experience and fresh perspective” required to provide a “robust” opposition to the Government’s large majority.

He said his priority in making the choices was to place individuals in roles where they will hold government to account.