Micheál Martin has no plans to appoint Fianna Fáil deputy

Fianna Fáil will not be appointing a deputy leader as Micheál Martin believes there is “no urgent requirement” to do so.

Micheál Martin has no plans to appoint Fianna Fáil deputy

The main opposition party has not appointed a deputy leader for the past five years after Éamon Ó Cuív was forced to resign from the position over his refusal to support the party’s position on the EU fiscal compact treaty back in 2012.

Asked whether he would be filling the position, especially as Fianna Fáil is looking to build on its election success of last year, Mr Martin said: “No, I am not looking at that. That was a more modern development, there is no urgent requirement on that front.”

Joseph Brennan was the first person to take up the deputy role in 1975 before becoming ceann comhairle.

Bertie Ahern, Mary Coughlan, Brian Cowen, Mary O’Rourke, and Brian Lenihan Sr and Jr have all held the deputy post in the past.

However, Mr Martin argued that Fianna Fáil currently has a “good, strong” front bench.

“I think Stephen Donnelly has been a very welcome edition to the party, I think he is working very well on Brexit and points up the need for a Brexit minister, in my view, on the Government side,” said Mr Martin.

He said Fianna Fáil would be putting pressure on the Fine Gael-led minority Government to make significant allowances for Brexit in October’s budget.

He said the recruitment of Mr Donnelly — who left the Social Democrats earlier this year — is a sign people are looking at the party afresh.

“We have had some councillors that have come back into the party across the country in Kerry, in Tipperary, and Kilkenny, that’s positive,” said Mr Martin.

The Fianna Fáil party is now aiming to have a presence in all Dublin constituencies next time around and want to increase its numbers to two TDs in other constituencies.

“We will be launching a major recruitment drive soon to recruit new people into the party,” said Mr Martin. “We want to be open to new ideas and new approaches. There is a lot of policy work going on now; we had the manifesto we want to revise that.

“The new crop, the new generation that have come in since this general election, they are only 12 months here, but I think many people are acknowledging to us that they are good quality TDs, people like James Lawless, Frank O’Rourke, Fiona O’Loughlin.

“I think we are on a journey and it’s the next phase of the recovery now.

“We made a big gain the last time, going from 20 to 44, and then we gained Stephen Donnelly so it won’t be as dramatic the next time, because the next number of seats would be very hard fought for.

“Where we don’t have seats they would be our immediate targets: Dublin, those constituencies where we don’t have seats we want to target in on them.

“And then we will be looking for two seats in some constituencies but they will be hard.”

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