Taoiseach 'laid into' by angry TDs at tense FF meeting

Taoiseach 'laid into' by angry TDs at tense FF meeting
One Fianna Fáil source said the Taoiseach Micheal Martin looked "most uncertain and shaken" by the end of the meeting. File photo: PA

Taoiseach Micheál Martin faced stinging criticism from his own TDs who he called on to stop briefing against their own government.

At a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary meeting on Wednesday night, Mr Martin called for loyalty and cohesion from all members, insisting that members stopped leaking matters to the media.

At the private meeting held at Dublin’s Convention Centre, Sligo-based TD Marc MacSharry “laid into” Mr Martin and his ministers for allowing themselves “to be led” by their officials as opposed to driving the agenda in their departments.

He pointed to the reports of Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien taking a tough stance with his officials saying that is the example to follow.

Mr MacSharry said he agreed with his leader’s call for cohesion but said that can only come from a “shared ownership” of the party and that it was up to the leader to make it happen.

“Loyalty and unity flows from a shared ownership and that is your job as leader to provide that,” Mr MacSharry told the meeting.

He also was sharply critical of the appointment of senior civil servant Robert Watt who runs the Department of Public Expenditure to the board of the FAI.

Mr MacSharry, according to several sources, said the appointment did represent a conflict of interest and should not have happened. 

“He described the situation as scandalous,” a source said.

Mr MacSharry received two rounds of applause for his critical comments of the party’s leadership.

“Micheál looked most uncertain and shaken by the end of the meeting. MacSharry let him have it and many backed him,” said the source.

There was an extensive discussion on today’s July Stimulus package but Minister Michael McGrath warned colleagues that many will “be disappointed” by what it is included in the plan.

“There is not something for everyone,” he told his colleagues.

New Education Minister Norma Foley was also pressed about the need for schools to re-open in September by several TDs and while she was present, sources said she did not respond.

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