Friday 19 January 2018

Leader's real challenge is not this race Fianna Fail can't afford and can't win

Micheal Martin's main task is to save Fianna Fail from extinction in the local elections, writes Eamon Keane

Unbelievable. Fianna Fail is on life support and the party's dinosaurs argue about a race they can't win and can't afford. At the same time as Micheal Martin tries to pull them into a new age, the media report a 'leadership crisis'. Let's ignore this summer fancy and do a realistic assessment of the challenges facing the Fianna Fail leader and his party.

Brian Crowley polled a lowly 13 per cent first-preference votes in polls despite a strong Munster base. No Fianna Fail candidate could possibly get sufficient transfers to win the presidential race. It will cost €500,000 which the party hasn't got. End of that story.

The internal row over Crowley is akin to guests on the sinking Titanic fighting over who gets to sit at the captain's table for dinner. The real underlying split is between the conservatives represented by Crowley, Eamon O'Cuiv, and Senator Jim Walsh and Fianna Fail moderates led by Micheal Martin, Daire Calleary and Daire O'Brien. In the middle you have the likes of Willie O'Dea, Senator Ned Sullivan and Brendan Smith. Martin was thwarted by the conservatives in his desired Seanad selections and the presidential row is merely more of the same.

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