Fianna Fáil Ardfheis: Delegates share their views

Party members on Martin’s leadership, arrangement with SF and presidential election

Denise McMorrow at the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis, in the RDS, Dublin: “We need to be very radical in our approach to address the housing crisis.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Denise McMorrow at the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis, in the RDS, Dublin: “We need to be very radical in our approach to address the housing crisis.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

 

DENISE McMORROW
Dublin Central

On Micheál Martin’s leadership

“He’s done a good job in keeping Fianna Fáil to the fore in a climate that’s very challenging for any political party. He has a good following and with the right attitude and people behind him he has a very good chance for taoiseach.”

On prospect of coalition/arrangement with Sinn Féin

“The core values of Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin could be quite different but I think they could agree on certain items. We need to be very radical in our approach to address the housing crisis.

“We are in unprecedented times when it comes to the electorate. So in order for us to group together I think we need to agree on some big ticket items the people of Ireland want to concentrate on that make a change for the betterment of society.”

Should Fianna Fáil field a candidate in presidential election?

“Why should we not have [a candidate in the election] is a better question. Fianna Fáil is very much a party representative of the width and breadth of Ireland. It’s a very real-life party. We see where the core issues are, also we have a strategic viewpoint and a helicopter view of where the country needs to be positioned in Europe and globally.”

SÉAMUS TROY
Tipperary

Séamus Troy at the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis, in the RDS, Dublin: “I’d leave it to the TDs to decide if Sinn Féin was a last option.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
Séamus Troy at the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis, in the RDS, Dublin: “I’d leave it to the TDs to decide if Sinn Féin was a last option.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

On Micheál Martin’s leadership

“I’m quite supportive of Micheál Martin. He’s done a very good job as leader. This probably might be his last shot but I’d like him to stay for a few years.

“If he didn’t get it this time and there’s going to be a hung Dáil again I’d give him a second chance. If he doesn’t pull it off though he mightn’t get support from his backbenchers to stay on as leader.”

On prospect of coalition/arrangement with Sinn Féin

“If there was a hung Dáil I’d sooner have him to try and find support from Independents, but if there weren’t enough Independents I’d prefer the support of other parties. Fine Gael owe it to us to support us as we did for them.

“But I’d leave it to the TDs to decide if Sinn Féin was a last option. I’d like to have Fianna Fáil in government anyway and Micheál Martin as taoiseach.

“I’m not too happy though with Fianna Fáil looking for Sinn Féin to enter the House of Commons [to take their seats in Westminster]. I think Fianna Fáil shouldn’t be looking for any party to take the oath of allegiance. They wouldn’t do it themselves.”

Should Fianna Fáil field a candidate in the presidential election?

“I’d be supportive of a candidate for the presidential election. We made a mistake last time when we didn’t run a candidate. I think Martin Mansergh [former Tipperary TD, minister of state and adviser on Northern Ireland to several taoisigh] would be a good choice.”

PETER CAULFIELD
Mayo

Peter Caulfield at the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis in the RDS, Dublin: “I don’t think the next election is a cliff edge for Micheál.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
Peter Caulfield at the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis in the RDS, Dublin: “I don’t think the next election is a cliff edge for Micheál.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

On Micheál Martin’s leadership

“I think Micheál has been a very effective leader and brought new TDs forward.

“I don’t think the next election is a cliff edge for Micheál. He has a vision for the country and I think he’s the right person to carry that vision forward, no matter what happens at the next election.”

On prospect of coalition/arrangement with Sinn Féin

“It’s more than a political divide between ourselves and Sinn Féin. Their actions over recent events such as the Mairia Cahill affair, refusing to give evidence to gardaí around unsolved murders and failing to help families to locate deceased people linked with the IRA, can’t be condoned. To have any deal with a party that still to this day has this behaviour, would be grossly disgusting in my opinion.”

Should Fianna Fáil field a candidate in the presidential election?

“We should consider this very carefully as a party. I’m not necessarily in favour of running someone just for the sake of running someone,

“I think we should consider someone who has a vision for the country.”

TORY MCGLYNN
Sligo

Tory McGlynn at the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis in the RDS, Dublin: “Possibly if a woman from Fianna Fáil went through, it might lift the party up a bit and with the whole Eighth Amendment.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
Tory McGlynn at the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis in the RDS, Dublin: “Possibly if a woman from Fianna Fáil went through, it might lift the party up a bit and with the whole Eighth Amendment.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

On Micheál Martin’s leadership

“I like him. I think he’s very approachable to all levels. Most people you talk to even in other parties would agree.

“Even if he didn’t get this election, he could have another chance. I don’t think we should cut him short in that way at all. I still look at him as a young man. As a young person I’m confident that he can lead the party into government.”

On the prospect of coalition/arrangement with Sinn Féin

“I would say never to coalition; maybe an arrangement. I look on Sinn Féin as very socialist and I’m very conservative but I just think coalition is a bad idea and I wouldn’t agree with it at all.

“I’d much prefer a confidence and supply arrangement with Fine Gael. If it had to be done [with Sinn Féin] it had to be done but I wouldn’t personally like to see it.”

Should Fianna Fáil field a candidate in the presidential election?

“I think they should go for a candidate at the next election with a name that’s out there. If a candidate did win the election it would boost Fianna Fáil. And people might look at the party with a different eye and not as bad as everyone makes them out to be.

“Possibly if a woman from Fianna Fáil went through, it might lift the party up a bit and with the whole Eighth Amendment. I think there are just too many men, and women lose interest. And it would be nice to have a woman president.”

FERGUS O’CONNOR
Dún Laoghaire

Fergus O’Connor at the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis in the RDS, Dublin: “I’m against coalition with Sinn Féin. I think the membership in general seems to be against it.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
Fergus O’Connor at the Fianna Fáil Ardfheis in the RDS, Dublin: “I’m against coalition with Sinn Féin. I think the membership in general seems to be against it.” Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

On Micheál Martin’s leadership

“I think he is as popular as ever. I would have thought he is a good prospect for a near election but he’s a long time a leader and hasn’t had the opportunity. He has a good standing.”

On prospect of coalition with Sinn Féin

“I’m against coalition with Sinn Féin. I think the membership in general seems to be against it. I think while we’ve similar views there’s too big a divide between us. We have the same main goals but different ways of getting to it.”

Should Fianna Fáil field a candidate in the presidential election?

“Definitely. I think we’ve had some good ones in the [Phoenix] Park and I think for a party our size it would be wrong of us not to.”

In conversation with Marie O’Halloran