'Micheal Martin is not an effective leader' - Senator Averil Power quits Fianna Fail with 'heavy heart'
Fianna Fail Senator Averil Power has announced she is quitting the party, effective immediately.
Making the announcement this afternoon, Ms Power said she has been "constantly rebuffed by Fianna Fail".
She said she was quitting Fianna Fail with a "heavy heart" but said the party is not fit for Government and that Micheal Martin is not an effective leader.
"Having lost my faith in Fianna Fáil, I cannot in good conscience knock on doors in Dublin Bay North and ask people to vote for the party. In my view, they are simply not fit for government," she said.
Averil Power said she has not spoken to Micheal Martin about her decision.
"His frontbench are all pulling in different directions and prioritising their personal political success over the needs of the party and the country," Ms Power told reporters.
She said that the party's lack of support for the marriage equality referendum was the "final straw".
"The party’s cynical and cowardly approach to the marriage equality referendum was the last straw," she said.
Ms Power said it was a very difficult decision to leave Fianna Fail but she has no intention of joining another party.
"It was not an easy decision to make but I am convinced it is the right thing to do. I intend to serve out my term in the Seanad as an Independent Senator," she added.
She said that people don't know what Fianna Fail stands for.
Averil Power said she was the only Fianna Fail face in the marriage equality referendum campaign.
She said a significant number of Fianna Fail TDs voted No in the same sex marriage referendum last week.
She described having been laughed at by Fianna Fail members when she suggested they should wear Yes badges in support of the referendum when they were canvassing to get Bobby Aylward elected in the Carlow/Kilkenny by-election.
Twitter reaction to the move has been overwhelmingly positive.
After watching that statement/Q&A it's easy to see that @averilpower is an earnest individual in politics for the right reasons. Good on you— Sam Ryan (@SammyJRyan) May 25, 2015
@averilpower an incredibly brave decision. The very best of luck.— James Barry (@MrJamsB) May 25, 2015
The resignation statement from @averilpower is one of the strongest I've seen from a politician leaving a party. No prisoners taken.— Kevin Doyle (@KevDoyle_Indo) May 25, 2015