A Fianna Fail senator has called on Micheal Martin to resign as party leader.
Dr Keith Swanick wrote to all Fianna Fail councillors to criticise the "monocratic agenda" of the current leadership and called for a clear out of senior party personnel as part of a "fundamental, root-and-branch change" that includes Mr Martin's resignation.
The Mayo-based senator, who is not running for re-election to the upper house, is the first member of the Fianna Fail parliamentary party to call on Mr Martin to resign in the wake of the disappointing general election for the party.
In his letter, he argues that a change of leader could be done while government formation talks are underway.
A new leader and "possible prospective Taoiseach would reignite the passion of our membership" and could "even represent some of the change that is being craved by society", Dr Swanick writes.
He criticises the disconnect between TDs and senators, party hierarchy and the isolation of members who are not part of Mr Martin's inner circle. "There is a palpable sentiment among some Oireachtas members that if one is not within the 'inner circle' then you are a spectator on the sideline."
He adds: "There should be no place in modern-day political discourse that facilitates a monocratic agenda. In our party the expression of alternative ideas, the sharing of concerns of those whom one represents, is only seen as an attempt to undermine the status quo."
Dr Swanick writes that Fianna Fail has not only lost its appeal to younger people but that "now lifelong supporters have had enough" with the loss of Fianna Fail's core values and identity reflected in the polls.
His letter concludes: "We cannot gloss over the cracks anymore. The electorate will reward Fianna Fail if we are brave enough to make the tough decisions and again offer a real alternative vision."
In the middle of the last Dail, I had occasion to discuss with Leo Varadkar the precipitous decline in Fine Gael public support, which I had written was evident from around June 2018. It was obvious in those conversations that he did not accept the fall was long-term damaging to his party's chances of re-election. But he was concerned enough to wonder aloud what he should do to boost Fine Gael's opinion poll figures.