Friday 22 September 2017

The first Fianna Fáil leader to never become Taoiseach

Micheal Martin
Micheal Martin
John Downing

John Downing

MICHEÁL Martin's father, Paddy, was an international boxer who defeated a man who went 12 rounds with Muhammed Ali.

That nugget, little-known outside the northside of Cork city, merits more attention than the usual run of political and sporting factoids. Surprisingly, it can help us understand the durability of a Fianna Fáil leader surrounded by many people with at best limited faith in their own political futures.

Fianna Fáil is on the ropes. Martin is their first ever leader not seen as a potential Taoiseach. In a vastly changed Irish political landscape, this once and recent "natural party of government", struggles to find a message which can even hold potential voters' attention - let alone win over their support.

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