O Cuiv attacks FF leader over his 'blinkered' view on Europe
FIANNA Fail TD Eamon O Cuiv yesterday launched an astonishing attack on party leader Micheal Martin for his "blinkered view" on Europe.
And Mr O Cuiv claimed his call for a No vote in the EU fiscal-treaty referendum is backed by many grassroots members.
The inflammatory comments came as Mr Martin moved to halt the renegade TD's solo-run campaign against the party's stance on the referendum.
Fianna Fail chief whip Sean O Fearghail was dispatched to put manners on Mr O Cuiv and find out how much campaigning for a No vote he expects to do.
Despite campaigning for a Yes vote, the party is allowing Mr O Cuiv to call for a No vote -- provided he doesn't actively tour the country or share a platform with Sinn Fein.
However, there is no appetite to kick Mr O Cuiv out of the party or, as a party TD put it, "to martyr him, which is what he wants".
Mr O Cuiv was forced to resign as deputy leader of the party two months ago over his stance on the EU referendum.
Tensions between the party leader and his former deputy leader deteriorated further as Mr O Cuiv claimed Mr Martin thinks "Europe can do nothing wrong".
Wading in to heavily criticise Mr Martin in the 'Connacht Sentinel', Mr O Cuiv continued to contradict Mr Martin's referendum Yes-vote stance.
"I think he's very Europhile . . . I think he has a blinkered view that Europe can do nothing wrong," he said.
Although no party members, TDs or senators have publicly backed him, Mr Cuiv claimed a large number of Fianna Fail grassroots members agreed with him on the referendum.
"I would reckon at this stage that my views are shared by a very, very large number of grassroots members, if not the majority of them," he said.
Mr O Cuiv said the country needed to reject the treaty and "secure a better package", including growth and employment and a writedown of banking debt.
Earlier this week, Mr Martin was forced to re-assert Fianna Fail's commitment to a Yes vote for the EU fiscal-treaty referendum and dismiss any talk of a link-up with Sinn Fein.
The party leader's stance came after Mr O Cuiv called for a No vote and suggested Fianna Fail's natural partners were Sinn Fein.
Despite his former deputy leader's continual straying from the party line, Mr Martin isn't taking any action against him.