Micheál Martin determined to lead Fianna Fáil into next election

Senior TD Barry Cowen says Martin should step down as party leader before next vote

Taoiseach Micheál Martin: ‘I intend to lead Fianna Fáil into the next election, yes’.   File photograph: Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire

Taoiseach Micheál Martin: ‘I intend to lead Fianna Fáil into the next election, yes’. File photograph: Julien Behal Photography/PA Wire

 

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said he intends to lead Fianna Fáil into the next election as Tánaiste, but that plan was questioned by one of his most prominent TDs.

Asked at a pre-Christmas media briefing if he would lead the party into the next general election – due in early 2025 – Mr Martin said: “Yes, I’ve said this before, I am on the record as saying I intend to lead Fianna Fáil into the next election, yes.”

However, backbench TD Barry Cowen, who was sacked by Mr Martin during the summer after a controversy over a four-year old drink-driving ban, has said that he and many of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party do not share this view.

In an interview with the Sunday Independent today, Mr Cowen said: “Nobody has a free pass. I personally – and I think a lot of the PP are of the same mind – I don’t think he’ll lead Fianna Fáil into the next election.”

Mr Cowen said that he could “understand” Mr Martin’s “willingness” and his “commitment” to continue leading the party after the Taoiseach’s job rotates to Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar in December 2022, but says that a “10-year-plus tenure is sufficient”. Mr Martin will mark 10 years as Fianna Fáil leader in the coming weeks.

Backbench TD Barry Cowen said that he and many of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party do not share the view that Micheál Martin should lead the party into the next election. File photograph:Gareth Chaney/Collins
Backbench TD Barry Cowen said that he and many of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party do not share the view that Micheál Martin should lead the party into the next election. File photograph:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Mr Cowen did not stipulate when he believes Mr Martin should step down, but indicates it could be “sometime after” the change in the Taoiseach’s office in a little under two years’ time.

“If I am saying I don’t think he should lead Fianna Fáil into the next election, well then a new leader would need time and space to prove his ability to lead not only Fianna Fáil but his ability to lead a government,” he said.