Micheál Martin 'rattled' as sparks fly at Fianna Fáil party meeting where 'rhetoric' on SF criticised

Micheál Martin 'rattled' as sparks fly at Fianna Fáil party meeting where 'rhetoric' on SF criticised

Sparks flew at a meeting of Fianna Fáil's party meeting this afternoon amid a backlash from TDs over a bad general election and concern about the direction leader Micheál Martin is taking.

A number of TDs spoke out about the rhetoric being used to attack Sinn Féin.

“Sparks flew,” said one new deputy while another veteran party member claimed Mr Martin was "rattled" at the meeting when confronted by frustrated TDs.

While a core part of the near two-hour parliamentary party meeting at Leinster House focused on battling coronavirus, TDs also spoke about the current paralysis in politics as leading Fianna Fáil members negotiate with rivals to form a government.

Limerick City TD Willie O'Dea said the party either faces an “unpalatible” decision to work with others in coalition or that it would face a “disastrous” second election at which more Fianna Fáil seats could be lost.

Tipperary TD Jackie Cahill was particularly critical of the outcome of the general election, where Fianna Fáil lost 16 sitting TD and returned with 38 seats.

Mr Cahill also talked about getting grief locally since the disappointing vote for the party as did others who said the strategy of attacking Sinn Féin was not working.

Mr Cahill and others, including party rebel, Carlow Kilkenny TD John McGuinness, talked about how Fianna Fáil had lost the election in part because of the message delivered about Sinn Féin.

Robert Troy was also critical of the direction and strategy of the party.

Party finance spokesman Michael McGrath and party deputy leader Dara Calleary briefed the meeting about ongoing talks with others, including Fine Gael and the Greens, on government formation talks.

Sources said Mr Martin reiterated to the meeting that he had received a mandate from the parliamentary party two weeks ago to go and negotiate with others to try and form a government.

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