A Fianna Fáil mayor has said it is time for Taoiseach Brian Cowen to resign.
Niall O'Neill, a councillor in Midleton, Co Cork, called Mr Cowen's Cabinet colleagues "chickens" if none had the courage to take over from him.
In an interview with the Evening Echo, Mr O'Neill said Brian Cowen needs to resign for the good of the Fianna Fáil party, and the country.
He says the Taoiseach is too closely associated with the "sins of the past", arguing that if you are laboured by the past, it's very hard to drive forward.
The Mayor of Midleton told the paper: “Fianna Fáil has no choice but to replace the leader.
“He is too associated with the sins of the past Government. If you are laboured by the past, it is very hard to drive forward with an anchor tying you down.”
He said he found it impossible to accept that nobody would want to take over as Taoiseach if Mr Cowen resigned.
“I have heard it said that none of the Cabinet would want the job because it is a poisoned chalice. If that was the case, you’d have to ask if the country was being led by 15 chickens in the Cabinet?
“We need someone fearless, someone who has not lost sight of the ideals of Fianna Fáil. Seán Lemass was such a person when he came in at a difficult time in Irish history — there are several good candidates and I cannot accept nobody would want the job,” he said.
Mayor O’Neill said he realised his future in Fianna Fáil would be in jeopardy because of his comments, but that he was willing to accept that if Fianna Fáil returned to its ideals.
“The ideals of Fianna Fáil have been lost over the past 10 years and it is terminally damaged unless we change.
“It is grassroots members who are suffering and I am just one of many who still want to be part of Fianna Fáil, but only if we go back to the ideals of the party.
Mayor O’Neill was first elected to Midleton Town Council in 2004, and was re-elected in 2009. It is his first time as mayor of Midleton, which has a population of 4,000.
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