Martin declines to say if he regrets supporting Haughey over O’Malley expulsion

FF leader voted for ‘conduct unbecoming’ motion

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin declined to say if he regretted supporting the motion to expel Des O’Malley. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin declined to say if he regretted supporting the motion to expel Des O’Malley. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

 

Fianna Fáil leader Michéal Martin has declined to say if he regrets supporting the motion to expel Dessie O’Malley from the party proposed by his predecessor Charles Haughey.

Mr Martin was a member of the party’s national executive in 1985 when Mr Haughey proposed that Mr O’Malley be expelled for “conduct unbecoming” for abstaining on a vote on contraception.

In his recent autobiography, Mr O’Malley disclosed that Mr Martin voted for the motion, while some other members, such as former minster Mary Hanafin, voted against.

Speaking on Tuesday, Mr Martin declined to say if he regretted that decision. “With the greatest of respect, I came here to discuss 2015, not 1985,” he said.

“I think historically and on reflection, all of those issues could have been handled better or differently but that’s for the history books and I’ll be writing my own memoirs and I’ll deal with all of that then.”

When asked again if he regretted supporting Mr Haughey’s motion, he said: “Look, I’m not going there.”

He said he had watched the first two episodes of Charlie, the RTÉ series dramatising Mr Haughey’s life, and said he does not think it will damage Fianna Fáil in the next election.

“I think I’ll withhold judgment until I see the last one. I have views on it like everyone else, in terms of the drama. I don’t think it will do harm in that sense, I think people look at it from a historical perspective.”

Mr Haughey’s son Séan, a former minister and TD, is expected to seek the party’s nomination in the Dublin Bay North constituency for the next general election.

When asked if there will be another Haughey in the next Dáil, Mr Martin said the constituency convention had yet to be held. Senator Averil Power and party councillor Deirdre Heney are also expected to contest the convention.