Martin ‘insulted both me and my community’ - Moynihan

Fianna Fáil's Cork North-West TD Michael Moynihan has accused Taoiseach Micheál Martin of "disrespecting both him and his community" after being overlooked for a junior ministry.
Martin ‘insulted both me and my community’ - Moynihan
Fianna Fáil TD Michael Moynihan: "I spent many years rebuilding the party - there's not a county that I wasn't in when we were rebuilding."

Additional reporting: Aoife Moore

Fianna Fáil's Cork North-West TD Michael Moynihan has accused Taoiseach Micheál Martin of "disrespecting both him and his community" after being overlooked for a junior ministry.

Mr Moynihan told The Irish Examiner that he had "taken a lot of shit" for Mr Martin over the years, which he says he spent rebuilding the party. A veteran TD who has held his seat since 1997, Mr Moynihan was seen as close to Mr Martin, acting as a close ally over the years. The Mallow dairy farmer has been seen as a certainty to be appointed to a role on Saturday, something he says he was led to believe.

Mr Moynihan said that he "wasn't sure" what had changed between then and now.

"There was no justification given to me, but he has insulted both me and my community. I spent many years rebuilding the party - there's not a county that I wasn't in when we were rebuilding. I took a lot of shit up and down the country and kept it from (Mr Martin).

Anne Rabbitte, at Government talks at Government Buildings, Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins
Anne Rabbitte, at Government talks at Government Buildings, Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Mr Moynihan said that he would continue to support the party, which he says he has poured his life into.

"I'm more Fianna Fáil than a lot of people. I've put my life and soul into the party."

Mr Moynihan said that it was "a question for Micheál Martin" as to whether there were geographical concerns about his appointment.

Three of the 17 newly-appointed junior ministers are from Munster - Fianna Fáil's Mary Butler -Waterford- and Niall Collins (Limerick County) and Fine Gael's Patrick O'Donovan - but none are from Cork.

There was also criticism of the lack of women appointed. Of the 17, just three are women. This means that of the 35 government positions, just eight are occupied by women.

Fianna Fáil's Jim O'Callaghan also told Mr Martin Martin that he did not wish to take up a junior role at the Department of Justice, where he would have overseen law reform.

Jack Chambers, during the launch of Fianna Fáil's general election manifesto at Smock Alley Theatre,Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins
Jack Chambers, during the launch of Fianna Fáil's general election manifesto at Smock Alley Theatre,Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

"At a time when many of our party’s senior members will be preoccupied with their ministerial duties, I want to devote more time to strengthening our great party by making it a more attractive option for young voters. I also believe Fianna Fáil needs strong voices outside government who can ensure that our party’s identity can be protected during the term of this coalition government."

Mr O'Callaghan was not part of the party's negotiating team, but served as the party's justice spokesperson in the last Dáil. Sources within the party say that the nod towards party strengthening indicates that Mr O'Callaghan will challenge for the party's leadership in the coming years.

"Jim will have the chance to meet members and impress them without a ministerial workload," said one party source.

For Fine Gael, former Education Minister Joe McHugh was offered a number of roles, but also rejected them.

The Donegal TD was passed over for a seat around the cabinet table last Saturday, and had been offered his pick of a number of portfolios by Leo Varadkar in the time since.

Fianna Fáil TD Thomas Byrne at Leinster House on Kildare Street, Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins
Fianna Fáil TD Thomas Byrne at Leinster House on Kildare Street, Dublin. Photo:Gareth Chaney/Collins

Preferring instead to scrutinise European legislation as it's transposed into Irish law amid a looming Brexit.

It's understood McHugh had indicated he would've preferred Minister for State for European Affairs or a portfolio involving tourism.

Neither of which were open to Fine Gael TDs due to how junior ministries are allocated. It has been agreed that no party can hold both a junior and senior ministry in one department.

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