Grab the chance of power now while you can, Micheál
An open letter to Micheál Martin, leader of the Opposition
Published 17/03/2016 | 02:30
Dear Micheál, Happy St Paddy's Day to you and Mary. Congratulations on the election performance and result. In an unguarded moment over a year ago, you told me for Fianna Fáil to win 40 seats would be a "phenomenal" result; 44 TDs surpassed insiders' optimistic estimates. Victories in both Kildares, Cavan/Monaghan, Sligo/Leitrim, Mayo, Cork North-West, Dublin Bay South and Donegal were exceptional achievements.
Your personal performance in Cork South-Central passed unnoticed. I sussed during Leeside visits that Michael McGrath would be ahead of you on the first count (compared to your lead of 3,500 in 2011). For you both to exceed the quota on the first count was remarkable - the redraw in Bishopstown affected you the worst.
Your grasp of policy and detail in the leaders' debates was in stark contrast to Enda and Gerry; your calm demeanour and debating skills on TV gained FF votes.