Saturday 17 March 2018

John Downing: Martin should not forget everything about Ahern's reign

"Spare a thought for Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, whose efforts to resurrect the party’s fortunes are being met with most resistance from within his own ranks" (Photo: Tom Burke)

John Downing

For more than a year before the June 1997 General Election, Fianna Fáil knew who was printing its election posters, who was going to put them up and where those posters were going.

So, 48 hours after then-Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader, John Bruton, had fired the starting gun, all major traffic routes had Fianna Fáil posters. Activists in the Rainbow coalition parties - whose leaders decided the election date - had to follow in Fianna Fáil's wake.

That little piece of "getting their retaliation in first" tells us a lot about the tip-top organisational state of the party in June 1997. There is no evidence to indicate that Micheál Martin's Fianna Fáil is anywhere near the same.

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