Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has rejected claims that he is under renewed pressure from his frontbench over the party’s poll ratings, saying he suffered “no personal attack” at a recent meeting of senior TDs on policy matters.
Reports yesterday said the party was “at war” over its failure to gather momentum before the next general election, amid ongoing concern at the fact it is languishing on 20% support in a number of recent polls.
During a meeting of frontbench TDs last Tuesday, children’s spokesperson Robert Troy was said to have had “a right cut off the leader” about the issue, with a number of other TDs present also raising their frustration at the situation.
Mr Troy yesterday confirmed he spoke “directly” to Mr Martin about the “need to maximise” the upcoming ard fheis in light of the issue, and adding that the party’s current poll ratings are “disappointing, to be sure”.
The latter comment was repeated by John McGuinness, Willie O’Dea, and Seán Fleming, while party whip Seán Ó Fearghail noted some TDs are reacting “more positively than others” to calls from Mr Martin “to put their shoulders to the wheel”.
However, Mr Martin said there was no truth to suggestions he came under any sustained attack, adding the meeting was held to specifically discuss wider policy matters — not the party’s performance.
“There was no personal attack,” he said.
“We out-performed the polls in the local elections, we were predicted to get 21% and Sinn Féin 23%. We got 25% and Sinn Féin 15%.
“We out-performed the polls then, I think we out-performed the exit poll by 3.5%, and we’re planning to out-perform them again.”
Last month former minister and deputy leader Eamon Ó Cuiv, who lost out to Mr Martin in the 2011 leadership race, contacted the party’s chief whip Seán Ó Fearghail calling for a meeting of TDs on the polls.
“If we stay the way we are, we are not relevant,” he said.
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