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Veteran Fianna Fáil senator hits out at internal sniping at Micheál Martin in stinging warning to parliamentary party

Constant leaking and drip-feeding to the press from members re party matters in general and the Leader in particular is a major cause of worry,’ wrote Senator Ned O’Sullivan.

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Picture: PA

Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Picture: PA

Fianna Fáil senator Ned O'Sullivan

Fianna Fáil senator Ned O'Sullivan

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Picture: PA

A FIANNA Fáil senator has written to all members of the parliamentary party to criticise internal sniping at leader and Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

Constant leaking and drip-feeding to the press from members re party matters in general and the Leader in particular is a major cause of worry,” wrote Senator Ned O’Sullivan.

He argues that it is perplexing to a great many FF members and to the party support base around the country and “damaging our prospects for the next general election.”

Senator O’Sullivan warns: “Our Leader and Taoiseach, Micheál Martin TD, is the most popular politician in the land. A statesman, he is head and shoulders over all opposition leaders.

“I believe we need him to lead us into the next general election. The seats of many backbenchers will not be secured without him.”

While there may be many worthy and gifted leaders in waiting on the front bench, “without Micheál Martin at the helm in 2025, we would be playing without our trump card”.

Senator O’Sullivan claims party councillors are “particularly upset and concerned” at TDs making noises against the leader, as at a recent impromptu parliamentary party meeting when the Taoiseach was on business abroad.

“I believe that the image of Fianna Fáil as a united, cohesive force, which has always been our trademark, is being seriously eroded,” he tells colleagues, saying the issue of undermining the leader should be addressed as an absolute priority.

“An Taoiseach and our own Cabinet members and Ministers of State are doing a great job. Every week we see what FF is delivering in Government, in every constituency,” Senator O’Sullivan writes.

“Yet, the perception is that the PP is dissatisfied with their efforts. We need to hear backbenchers standing up for our Ministers.

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Fianna Fáil senator Ned O'Sullivan

Fianna Fáil senator Ned O'Sullivan

Fianna Fáil senator Ned O'Sullivan

“Unfortunately, it’s the negative commentary that is getting traction. The media are enjoying it immensely, as is the opposition.”

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A TD loyal to the leader who received the message told Independent.ie: “Fair play to Ned — he has guts. What has been going on is not right. The Taoiseach has had to put the country first, but there are signs the public know this.

“To drop a successful leader and proven politician could be suicidal at this point. More people now need to come out and back up what Ned is saying.”

Senator O’Sullivan said he had repeatedly warned the party that it is in danger of losing its key middle-class, middle-aged vote if it is seen to be ‘soft’ on Sinn Féin, which he appeared to equate with the anti-Martin caucus.

“I am meeting more and more taxpayers — teachers, Gardaí, civil servants, small businessmen, farmers, people in retirement, who are scared stiff of SF,” he says.

“These people have no doubt where FG stands but, increasingly, they see signs of prominent FF backbenchers cosying up to both SF and their cover organisations.”

The senator claims FF members are increasingly appearing on such platforms and giving them credibility. “Far better for us to give the total FF support to the Taoiseach’s ‘Shared Island’ programme – I don’t see this happening a whole lot, with some notable exceptions,” he said.

He adds: “We are the republican party. We do not believe in violence, coercion or criminality. The united Ireland we long to see will never be achieved by bullying and hatred. Every leader of our party has made this clear.

“We did not work to achieve the Good Friday Agreement in order to facilitate the false narrative of SF. We have witnessed the reality and it is not forgotten. Let’s not be duped by clever, devious hypocrites.”

Another prominent party member told Independent.ie: “It’s a bloody good corrective, isn’t it? He’s giving quite a few people a smart kick in the pants.”

Senator O’Sullivan tells TDs, senators, MEPs and the Taoiseach himself: “I’ve been a public representative now for close on forty years. In that time I have never been afraid to state things honestly, as I see them, sometimes to my cost.

“In writing to you, I have no motivation whatsoever only the continued survival and growth of Fianna Fáil.

“I respect each and every member of the PP and I want to see every one of you returned in 2025. I will be in my mid-seventies by 2025 so you can be assured therefore that what I write is from the heart.

“I will copy this to all the PP and I will not be making it available to the media. I am confident no one else will.”


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