Fianna Fail chief Micheal Martin is facing a grassroots revolt from a group of senior members who believe the party is on the cusp of extinction because of his leadership.
They fear it will “die a peaceful death” and become a “faint and distant memory” unless the Taoiseach and “party hierarchy” are taken on.
Respected Fianna Failers Paddy Ryan and Don Davern claimed the party “has never been at such a perilous low level”.
They said: “If this continues then the very future of the party is at risk.”
And the blame is laid squarely at the door of Mr Martin who, they added, is responsible for the “disconnect” between party members and the leadership.
- Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald says lockdown ‘intervention’ needed but coronavirus benefits cuts must be reversed first
There is also bitter criticism of “unelected advisers” who are said to “lack vision and ambition”.
The explosive letter from long-serving members, seen by the Irish Mirror, has been sent to every Fianna Fail TD, Senator and councillor in the country this week.
In the call to arms from party stalwarts Mr Ryan and Mr Davern, on behalf of the Tipperary branch of the organisation, members are urged to “put up a fight” to save the party.
Mr Ryan said Fianna Fail is facing being “consigned to the history books” if action isn’t taken immediately.
And it is Mr Martin who is slammed for the party’s poor recent performance.
Recent dismal poll numbers put Fianna Fail on just 9%, a record low in its 94-year history.
Mr Ryan tells how he believes the “out-of-touch” leadership should listen to the core of the party to save it.
He said in the letter: “We believe that you, our county councillors, are a core and critical part of the very essence of Fianna Fail.
“You are the ears of our party, you are our frontline to the public and had you been consulted on a more regular basis by our party leader and parliamentary party we may not be in the terrible position we are in today.”
The letter accompanies a policy document on housing as the Tipp members feel the party has lost its way in this area and needs special help. The 15-page dossier is the first in a series of policy proposals the grassroots group plans to send to party HQ for consideration.
Mr Ryan told the Irish Mirror he felt now was the time to act, before it was too late.
He added he has had a “wonderful response” so far from TDs and one minister who “backs him 100%”.
Mr Ryan has also received a response from the Taoiseach who, he said, told him he had gotten to “the heart of the matter”.
Scathing in its criticism, the letter added: “As you will appreciate the last couple of months has been
exceptionally difficult for all members and highlighted the perceived
disconnect between the leadership and the members.
“We still cling to the hope the party hierarchy will at least listen to the ordinary members’ thoughts and concerns around a variety of real and urgent issues. While we fully acknowledge opinion polls are only a snapshot in time, the continuing and frightening downward trend is painfully consistent over the last number of months.
“We face a frank and urgent choice, we can let our party die a peaceful death and have it consigned to the history books, becoming only a faint and distant memory for future generations.
“The other choice is we can put up a fight to try and save our party and reclaim the support of the wider public. There are so many issues of real importance and concern to both our members and the public and yet the views of the members are never sincerely sought. 138326151552
“Good ideas are not the preserve of unelected advisers, indeed we have been consistently disappointed with the lack of vision and ambition.”
Mr Ryan said he has watched Fianna Fail slowly disintegrate under the Taoiseach and added: “I met Mr Martin when he became leader in 2011 and I told him he’d be seen one day as the biggest disaster ever for Fianna Fail unless he changed the way he operated.”
Mr Ryan has been described by one TD as “a solid Fianna Fail man” who has “worked for the party all his life”. He is vice-chairman of the Tipperary CDC (Comhairle Dail Cheantar) of Fianna Fail.