Challenge for Martin is to rid FF of toxic image
The news, reported in today's paper, that no member of the Lenihan family will contest the by-election caused by the death of former Finance Minister Brian Lenihan last June not only brings an end to one of the most illustrious dynasties in Irish political history but also highlights the sorry state of Fianna Fail six months on from the party's historic drubbing in the general election.
Under normal circumstances, as a former TD and Minister for State himself, Brian Lenihan's brother Conor would have been an unbeatable candidate. As the bearer of perhaps the most famous name in Irish politics he would have benefited from an enormous sympathy vote resulting from the death of his brother.
But of course these aren't normal circumstances. Far from it. Such is the fallout from Fianna Fail's mishandling of the economy during its 14 years in office that what was once the strongest brand in Irish politics is now utterly toxic, perhaps irredeemably so.