Martin running Fianna Fáil as ‘one-man show’, MacSharry says

Members’ views of ‘no consequence as to actions of the leader’, says TD who quit FF

Marc MacSharry on Micheál Martin as leader of Fianna Fáil: ‘Everybody else is expected to row in blindly.’ Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

Marc MacSharry on Micheál Martin as leader of Fianna Fáil: ‘Everybody else is expected to row in blindly.’ Photograph: Crispin Rodwell

 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin is running Fianna Fáil as a “one-man show”, Sligo-Leitrim TD Marc MacSharry has said.

After quitting the parliamentary party on Wednesday, Mr MacSharry said he was forced to “take a stand” when he was blanked in his request for party TDs to meet to discuss a vote of confidence in Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney ahead of a Dáil debate.

Standing over his claim in his resignation letter that Fianna Fáil was being operated like an “undemocratic, totalitarian regime”, he said anybody “being truthful and who has the knowledge I have, they won’t disagree with a single word in it”.

“That is a very sad thing to say,” he told Ocean FM. “Other leaders in the past, going back to Lemass, Lynch, Haughey, Reynolds, Bertie, Cowen and others, people would criticise aspects of their leadership.

“I have served three of those leaders. I know the current leader personally for 30 years, and I have lived experience of his entire period as leader of Fianna Fáil.

“I’m sad to say, and it is very sad to say, it is a one-man show. Everybody else is expected to row in blindly.

“They get to voice their view, but their view has no consequence as to the actions of the leader, and that is the sad reality of it. That wasn’t the case for any other leader.”

Long-time critic

Mr MacSharry, the son of former tánaiste Ray MacSharry and a long-time critic of Mr Martin, described the refusal to call a gathering of party TDs to discuss the confidence motion as the “last straw”.

“It is no secret that over the course of the last nine months, the double standards that have been apportioned, the contempt with which Fine Gael were treating the Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil, and by extension all members of it, was troubling in the extreme for me,” he said.

Referring to remarks by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar on Monday pulling Department of the Taoiseach secretary general Martin Fraser into the Katherine Zappone controversy, he accused the Fine Gael leader of “once again shoving Fianna Fáil’s face further into the mud”.

Insisting that his resignation “isn’t a Marc MacSharry vanity project”, he said “under the current leadership it is impossible to have any influence” and that he “certainly wouldn’t take a decision like this lightly”.

As a de facto Independent in the Dáil, he will “have the element of freedom” to vote as he wants “rather than being guided by the focus of one individual within Fianna Fáil, who happens to be the leader, rather than the collective, democratic view of many fine people in the party”, he said.

Mr MacSharry said he intends to stand in the next election.

Asked how he was coping personally with the decision to resign from the parliamentary party, he said: “100 per cent.”