Saturday 24 February 2018

James Downey: Martin can't resurrect a party buried in the past

NOT much has gone well for Micheal Martin since he became leader of Fianna Fail in the weirdest -- and unhappiest -- circumstances imaginable. In case you had forgotten, there were three other candidates for this most thankless of jobs: Eamon O Cuiv, Brian Lenihan and Mary Hanafin. Martin won easily. Since then, it has been downhill all the way.

He led his party to a catastrophic defeat, with a record low in votes and Dail seats. Nobody would have done any better, and some think that Brian Cowen would have done worse. This question isn't worth arguing. Martin had to do with what he'd got, and he still has to do with what he's got. Which isn't much.

Fianna Fail has a demoralised organisation. It has no discipline, no loyalty and no money. It doesn't even lead the Dail opposition in any real sense, because it is outnumbered by the combined weight of Sinn Fein and the Independents, notably including the far left.

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