Sunday 18 March 2018

I will not be silenced, warns John McGuinness

Rebel TD John McGuinness is refusing to be silenced
Rebel TD John McGuinness is refusing to be silenced

Niall O'Connor and Daniel McConnell

Rebel TD John McGuinness has warned the Fianna Fáil leadership he will not be silenced over his ongoing criticism of the party.

Mr McGuinness, who previously told leader Micheál Martin that he wanted his job, yesterday said the party needed to "change its attitude" if it expected to see an increase in support.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman said he would continue to speak critically of the party if necessary, adding: "It would be negligent to do otherwise."

Mr McGuinness told the Irish Independent that he "will not shut up or get out" in a clear shot at the party leadership.

"Fianna Fáil needs to change its attitude," he said.

"Politics is about expressing your opinion and shaping the direction of your party. It would be utterly negligent not to do so."

Meanwhile, senior party sources last night expressed deep frustration at what they described as attempts by Mr McGuinness to "undermine" Mr Martin.

The Fianna Fáil leader issued a warning to his parliamentary party on Tuesday to stop airing their grievances through the media. Sources at the meeting said Mr Martin delivered a "firm warning" to TDs to desist from their public sniping.

He warned that some members had been "sniping from the bushes" in a reference believed to be aimed at party stalwart Éamon Ó Cuív. Mr Ó Cuív said at the weekend that morale was "on the floor".

Other sources at the meeting suggested Mr Martin lacked authority.

"Three times, Micheál stood up to end the meeting in an attempt to assert his authority but it didn't work," said one source.

Although Mr McGuinness has previously spoken about his ambitions to be leader, Fianna Fáil figures do not believe he will launch a challenge.

"John should consider whether he would secure the support. It's doubtful," said one source.

Irish Independent

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