Bruce Arnold: Martin the worst choice to restore FF's integrity
MY order of preference, for the leadership of Fianna Fail, was as follows. First choice, Eamon O Cuiv, a man of integrity who comes from a tradition within Fianna Fail that has been largely lost. It is one that needs restoring and I believe that O Cuiv would have done, and would have handled the necessary authority unflinchingly. This would have been worthy of the political line that runs from Eamon de Valera, through Lemass to Jack Lynch.
It stopped there, mainly because of Charles Haughey, and in due course because neither Albert Reynolds nor Bertie Ahern had the strength to reform Fianna Fail. Brian Cowen never had the chance, struggling as he was with an economic storm, a struggle that in the end defeated him because there were no true guidelines left for negotiating our way. O Cuiv might have been wrecked by the party, but my instinct is that he would have prevailed.
My second choice would have been Mary Hanafin, a good way behind O Cuiv and a woman who has been damaged into silences when she should have spoken out. A woman leader would have been a novel change for Fianna Fail, but the greater role of women might have been her effective basis for widespread and much-needed reform.