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Sunday 21 January 2018

Two-thirds of FF snub Martin stance

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

MICHEAL MARTIN'S leadership of Fianna Fail was dealt another embarrassing blow last night when two-thirds of his TDs voted against the abortion legislation.

Despite Mr Martin supporting the legislation, the numbers of Fianna Fail TDs who voted No actually grew.

The party leader had wanted Fianna Fail to support the legislation but had to back down when he couldn't bring his TDs with him.

After Mr Martin allowed a free vote, of the 19 Fianna Fail TDs, 13 voted against the legislation and six for the bill.

Party insiders were not surprised by the outcome, but did point to Willie O'Dea switching sides in recent weeks.

"He was very much in favour of it back in May. Obviously he had a Pauline conversion on the road to Southill or wherever," a party TD said.

Sean Fleming was also thought to be previously in favour, but voted against.

The result came after a bad week for Mr Martin where Fianna Fail suffered a dramatic dip in the polls following publication of the Anglo Tapes.

The party leader also faced difficult questions about his role as a member of the cabinet that brought in the bank guarantee.

A Fianna Fail spokesman said Mr Martin was relaxed about the result of the vote.

"Once the decision was taken on the free vote, that was that," the spokesman said.

Aside from Mr Martin, health spokesman Billy Kelleher, Timmy Dooley, Niall Collins, Barry Cowen and Michael Moynihan were the only ones to vote for the legislation.

Irish Independent

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