Grassroots members encourage Fianna Fáil to enter 'National Emergency Government'

Grassroots members encourage Fianna Fáil to enter 'National Emergency Government'

A grassroots group of Fianna Fáil members has written to the party's TDs encouraging them to form a "National Emergency Government", or face the end of the party entirely.

The group, Cosmhuintir Fianna Fáil, who are understood to have hundreds of members, say they are made up of "loyal and hardworking members of the party".

The letter, sent via email to elected TDs on March 31, says it is "a cry from the heart of Fianna Fáil for the rehabilitation and reform of the party" which "will only be served, in the long term, by committing to a National Emergency Government to bring us through the sad events of our time," the letter reads.

"The most palatable and most practical response to this tragic time would undoubtedly be a National one.

An Emergency government, with all parties involved, for a given period of time, would be the best option and would be the most popular with the electorate.

A national unity government, initially proposed by the Green Party to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, has been dismissed by both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael who continue this week to put together a broad framework for government, in an attempt to convince one of the smaller progressive parties to join in coalition to forge a government majority.

Fianna Fáil members have both publicly and privately baulked at the idea of another five years in coalition with Fine Gael, with one TD telling the Examiner that getting a majority membership vote on such an arrangement through a party Ard Fheis "won't be a walk in the park".

The group notes the poor performance of Fianna Fáil in the February election, which was "deeply disappointing for everybody within the party".

"Loyal party activists were aghast at the lack of direction of the campaign, the constant negativity, the demonstrable lack of planning, and the repetitive criticism of Sinn Féin, which backfired," the letter reads.

The prospect of a Coalition government with Fine Gael bodes ill for Fianna Fáil and, for us, it is a disastrous step and will, ultimately, be the end of a once-great political party.

The group says the party now "seems to stand for nothing" and it "did not start today or yesterday" with the party's identity abandoned a long time ago.

"It is clear that a government of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael is not what the people voted for," the letter continues.

"If such a government comes to pass, we believe that the party would be the ultimate losers.

"It is beyond dispute that we should respect the democratic will and discuss change with all parties, Sinn Féin included."

One TD who received the letter said that the concerns laid out are the same which many TDs are hearing on the ground in their constituencies and a growing distrust within the party of leader Micheál Martin.

"Before the pandemic, the decision was made that many didn't want this coalition but if it was in national interest they could be convinced to go along with it," they said.

"What we're hearing more now than we ever heard before is that they would like to see a different leader, because his (Micheál Martin) attempts to negotiate this deal are looking now as someone that's frantic about getting into power, and it's coming across that way.

The impression is that Micheál is doing this in his own interest, not in the interest of Fianna Fail.

The decision not to speak to Sinn Féin has split Micheál Martin's parliamentary party, with as many as 17 of the party's 38 TDs open to discussions with Mary Lou McDonald's party.

"The general feeling within the parliamentary party is that they should've opened up discussion at least with Sinn Féin, we're entering into the end game now with Fine Gael and haven't even attempted to discuss anything with Sinn Féin," the source said.

"We don't know the content of exchange between Micheál and Mary Lou, and therein lies the problem, we don't know what's going on, we're taking the biggest step in the history of the party and the State, and we don't know what's going on with the party hierarchy and that's truly shocking."

More on this topic

Housing and pension age among sticking points for govt talksHousing and pension age among sticking points for govt talks

Catherine Martin confirms Green Party leadership bidCatherine Martin confirms Green Party leadership bid

Crunch government formation talks to continue over weekendCrunch government formation talks to continue over weekend

Independent TDs may hold the key to government formationIndependent TDs may hold the key to government formation