Tuesday 6 December 2016

Micheál Martin: 'It wouldn't be natural if I didn't aspire to be Taoiseach of this country'

Cormac McQuinn and Philip Ryan

Published 25/05/2016 | 20:52

Party leader Michael Martin at Fianna Fáil's main national Commemoration for 1916 at the Round Room at the Mansion House, Dublin. Pictures:Arthur Carron
Party leader Michael Martin at Fianna Fáil's main national Commemoration for 1916 at the Round Room at the Mansion House, Dublin. Pictures:Arthur Carron
Fianna Fáil's main national Commemoration for 1916 at the Round Room at the Mansion House, Dublin. Pictures:Arthur Carron
Mary Hanafin at Fianna Fáil's main national Commemoration for 1916 at the Round Room at the Mansion House, Dublin. Pictures:Arthur Carron
Former Taoiseach Brian Cowen at Fianna Fáil's main national Commemoration for 1916 at the Round Room at the Mansion House, Dublin. Pictures:Arthur Carron

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said he aspires to become Taoiseach and his party aims to enter government after the next election.

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Meanwhile, Éamon Ó Cuív brushed off suggestions he might like to follow in his grandfather Éamon DeValera's footsteps by becoming President, predicting that Micheal D Higgins will be in the role "a long time yet".

They were speaking ahead of a Fianna Fáil commemoration in Dublin marking the 1916 Rising and the 90th anniversary of the founding of the party.

Mr Martin was asked about his chances of becoming Taoiseach.

Micheál Martin and Enda Kenny
Micheál Martin and Enda Kenny

"When I got elected first as leader of the Fianna Fáil party my objective was to restore the party to be a critical force in Irish political life.

"I think probably faster than people anticipated we are now a very important force in Irish politics."

He said: "It has never been about me personally but it is about a movement that's 90 years old".

But Mr Martin added: "Of course it wouldn't be natural if I didn't aspire one day to be Taoiseach of this country to implement the kind of policies that are closest to our heart as a political party."

He said for now his focus is on issues like housing and health but that: "when the next general election comes we will be competing to go into government."

Galway West TD Mr Ó Cuív - who was behind Fianna Fáil's 1916 Commemorations - said he has "no ambitions" to become President like his grandfather, party founder Mr DeValera.

"I'm doing the job that I've been asked by the leader to do - spokesperson on rural affairs and the Gaelteacht and I'll continue to do that job. I think Micheal D is going to be there for a long time yet," he added.

The next Presidential election is due in 2018.

Hundreds of Fianna Fáil members including former Taoiseach Brian Cowen have gathered at Dublin's Mansion House for the party's event tonight.

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