Thursday 14 December 2017

No comeback for PJ Mara, insists FF ahead of poll review

PJ Mara
PJ Mara
John Downing

John Downing

Some Fianna Fail TDs and senators are seeking "a PJ Mara-type figure" to guide them through the crucial next general election campaign.

The Fianna Fail parliamentary party meets at lunchtime today to review last month's local and European elections.

But there is considerable anger against the party's headquarters about various campaign issues as they prepare for the general election, which is at most 22 months away.

Among the ideas being mooted is the addition of "an experienced hand" with an ability to shape "big picture media messaging".

Rumours at Leinster House that the party leadership were considering the return of the adviser to former Fianna Fail Taoisigh Charlie Haughey and Bertie Ahern were quickly dismissed out of hand.

But several senior TDs confided there was a view that the party needed to include strong input from former advisers who had helped guide them to several election wins.

"We're missing a PJ Mara-type figure, somebody who has been through the mill and who has his past experience," one TD said.


"If there isn't a 'Mara-type figure' out there, should we not consider PJ Mara himself? That is what some people are saying," the TD added.

Others in the parliamentary party were uncomfortable with the mention of a name which may remind the public of the past.

They also pointed out that Mr Mara, who is aged 72, may be too old for such an onerous task.

But another TD said the party could benefit from a part-time input from somebody taking an overview of the party's workings.

"We need somebody who could stand back from the day-to-day and take a broader view of things. We are not talking about a daily grind," the TD said.

A spokesman for party leader Micheal Martin said today's meeting was about finding "a policy focus for the next six months and beyond".

He insisted there was no question of a return for PJ Mara.

Mr Mara could not be contacted for comment.

But one FF veteran said he had let it be known that he would help the party in any way he could to rebuild its fortunes.

Irish Independent

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