Micheál Martin ‘cosying up to Fine Gael in bid to survive’

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has been accused of “cosying up” to Fine Gael in a desperate bid to survive as head of the party, and enter government after the next general election.

Micheál Martin ‘cosying up to Fine Gael in bid to survive’

The claim was made by Dáil hopeful and Dublin councillor David McGuinness, who yesterday resigned from Fianna Fáil.

He also claimed no party TD had “the balls” to oust Mr Martin as leader.

Mr McGuinness’s resignation came after he failed to win a seat for the party in the last two byelections in Dublin West, despite polling 22% in 2011.

He was recently beaten at the Dublin West selection convention by Fianna Fáil councillor Jack Chambers, who was nominated to contest next year’s election.

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The resignation was the second loss of a councillor for Mr Martin after Kilkenny city’s Patrick McKee was recently poached by Renua as a candidate for the Carlow-Kilkenny byelection next month.

Mr McGuinness said he had no grudges to bear, after he informed Mr Martin and party general secretary Seán Dorgan of his resignation by letter.

However, he also had some candid comments for the party and its leader.

He said: “I took advice from social media and my supporters. They said what happened [not being selected] was terrible; that I was good for the community and to cut lose.

“The party is stagnant, redundant, and not open to criticism. It’s becoming increasingly clear Micheál Martin is surrounding himself with people to go into government with Fine Gael.

“His people say he has to enter government after the election or he won’t survive as leader.

“He’s not taking the Government to task in opposition and is cosying up to a coalition with Fine Gael.”

Mr McGuinness said no parliamentary members “had the balls to get rid” of Mr Martin.

However, he paid tribute to the late Brian Lenihan, who had given him the break to run in Dublin West originally in 2011.

Fianna Fáil headquarters did not comment on the resignation. However, a party source said: “He got beaten. That’s that. If he had been more organised in the selection convention he would not be in this position now.”

Meanwhile, the “battle of Blackrock” is set to resume between a former Fianna Fáil minister and an up-and-coming party councillor.

It emerged yesterday both former education minister Mary Hanafin and first-term councillor Kate Feeney will compete for the Fianna Fáil nomination to run in Dún Laoghaire, south Dublin.

Ms Feeney said she would bring energy and vibrancy to her campaign, as she announced her desire to win one of three seats available at the next general election.

“The political landscape is changing and I believe, that to win a seat, Fianna Fáil needs to show we are capable of changing with it.”

Ms Feeney and Ms Hanafin fought a high-profile battle for seats in last year’s local elections. Despite Fianna Fáil botching up the selection, Ms Hanafin ended up running alongside Ms Feeney. Both were elected to the Blackrock ward for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

Ms Hanafin recently said she would not contest the vice-presidency of Fianna Fáil and wants instead to focus on winning the nomination in Dún Laoghaire.

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