What was a feared organisation has now degenerated into a medley of dissidents
When Micheál Martin alienated Averil Power, he "threw a pearl away, richer than all his tribe". Richer, certainly, than the remnants of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary tribe who sit beside and behind him in the Dáil. Of the 18 deputies who support him there, half a dozen at most make any visible contribution to the party or the country.
At other levels, the scene is equally dispiriting. In the never-to-be-forgotten year of 2008, the party lost its reputation for economic competence. In opposition since 2011, it has also lost its reputation for discipline and cohesion. Its once-feared organisation has degenerated into a medley of dissidents who do not know how to make their presence felt to any effect and have baffled loyalists with nothing credible to say.
On April 24, the leader claimed that he had calmed dissent. One month later, Averil Power resigned from the party, making a blistering speech in which she accused it of lacking "vision, courage and leadership".