Micheál Martin under pressure from TDs over Fine Gael deal

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has faced a rural mutiny from his TDs who have vented their frustration over the confidence and supply deal.

“It is felt that there is no respect shown by Fine Gael,” one Fianna Fáil member said following a private meeting of party members.

Several leading rural members including Niamh Smyth, Marc MacSharry, Pat the Cope Gallagher, John McGuinness, and Sean Fleming expressed anger at a lack of respect being shown by Fine Gael.

Members were enraged that they had not been notified of the Government’s €21m town and village renewal scheme before it was announced yesterday.

“Even when Fianna Fáil were in a majority position we would have had the courtesy to give the information before it was published,” one Fianna Fáil member said.

TDs and senators were furious over being denied the “courtesy” of being informed about the rural funding announcement and told party leader Micheál Martin they are “getting it in the neck” in their constituencies over the confidence and supply deal.

“Micheál was told confidence and supply is not working for us, he was told how we are being kept in the dark and being told nothing.

“He heard that TDs are getting it in the neck in their constituencies over the deal,” one party figure told the Irish Examiner.

However, Micheál Martin responded with a stonewall refusal to countenance their concerns, demanding that members “think of the long game” and keep things in perceptive.

This was echoed by Robert Troy TD who told the meeting that members should be focused on their work on the ground and not spin and announcements from the Government.

It is understood that frustration around the confidence and supply agreement had been brewing at the recent Fianna Fáil think-in and this was exacerbated by yesterday’s announcement.

Many in Fianna Fáil believe that while they are enabling the Government they are getting little in exchange, and some backbenchers are worried their work will not be seen or acknowledged by the public.

Mr McGuinness also drew the ire of the party leader when he challenged him on the Water Services Bill, which is the legislation which will see refunds given to those who paid their water charges.

Mr McGuinness was concerned about the channelling of motor tax revenue to fund Irish Water.

He was said to have been met with a sharp response from the leader and from the party’s housing spokesman, Barry Cowen, who said the bill is to go through the Dáil without debate.

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