Martin may force TDs into constituency switchMicheal Martin: in election mode
Published 28/01/2011 | 05:00
New Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin indicated yesterday he will make another attempt to get Cabinet ministers Mary Hanafin or Barry Andrews to move constituencies for the general election.
Mr Martin will stamp his authority on FF's election planning by making changes to the candidate line-up.
All eyes are on Dun Laoghaire to see if Mr Martin will intervene and force one of the heavy-hitting TDs to move to neighbouring Dublin South to boost the party's prospects.
The two ministers have refused to budge, despite requests from headquarters which is trying to limit losses.
The party is destined to lose a seat in Dun Laoghaire, while there are vacancies in Dublin South. Mr Martin said he agreed with former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's claim that Fianna Fail is running too many candidates. He admitted it was late to be making substantial changes.
"Too many candidates and people are looking at it through the prism of the 2007 General Election. We will not be at that level. I think both candidates are adamant they want to stay in Dun Laoghaire. I am the leader and I think one has to take on board a range of issues."
He said he was conscious he could lose a high-profile TD if both Ms Hanafin and Mr Andrews ran against each other.
Despite spending the past 13 years around the Cabinet table, which failed to reform government, Mr Martin wants to introduce an American style-system where experts from outside politics can be appointed to senior positions in Cabinet.
Mr Martin yesterday said the entire political system has to be reformed and people from outside the Dail or Seanad should be allowed become government ministers.
He favours a system like the one in place in America, where President Barack Obama can bring in outside experts to run government departments.
Meanwhile Mr Martin last night urged canvassers to acknowledge the mistakes of the past when they meet the electorate on the doorsteps.
Mr Martin was attending his first Fianna Fail convention in his new role as party leader in the Sligo/North Leitrim constituency last night.
Almost 400 delegates packed the Southern Hotel in Sligo and gave their new leader a resounding welcome.