Marc MacSharry actively seeking rebel TDs in bid to drive out Micheál Martin
:: Rebel backbencher a number of names short of target of 10
July 13 2021 02:30 AM
Rebel Fianna Fáil backbencher Marc MacSharry is actively seeking the names of TDs to sign a motion of no confidence in Taoiseach Micheál Martin.
Mr MacSharry has spent months trying to gather the names of 10 TDs to spark a heave against Mr Martin.
The Sligo-Leitrim TD is understood to have told colleagues he has come close to reaching the number of TDs needed to cause a heave but is still a number of names short.
If he secures the names of 10 TDs a motion of no confidence must be held by secret ballot within five days. It is not expected he will have enough names to cause a motion of no confidence to be held before the Dáil recess.
However, he is planning to ramp up efforts to gather names ahead of this week’s Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting.
Mr MacSharry previously backed Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan to be the party’s next leader.
However, Mr O’Callaghan’s decision to say he will not sign a motion of no confidence in the Taoiseach is understood to have angered Mr MacSharry who has reconsidered his support for the Dublin Bay South TD.
“Jim may have played himself out of the game but the game is certainly still on,” a source close to Mr MacSharry said.
Separately, a group of like-minded Fianna Fáil TDs are understood to be discussing party strategy with a view to growing their public support after a series of poor showings in opinion polls.
The loose knit group of backbench TDs are not plotting a leadership heave at the moment but are discussing how to revive the party.
“It is not about plotting leadership change but in a year’s time if we are still down in the polls that might be discussed,” a TD said.
It comes as the Taoiseach vowed to work with rebel TDs to get them back on board after a disastrous Dublin Bay South by-election fuelled talks of a motion of no confidence in him.
Despite senior party figures yesterday privately criticising his leadership approach as being “autocratic”, Mr Martin said he would work with backbench TDs.
The Taoiseach said his focus was on policy issues rather than internal party rumblings over his leadership.
“My focus as Taoiseach and focus as a party has to be on the big issues facing the Irish people. The Irish people expect that from those in Government,” he said.
“I always work with my colleagues, I always engage with my colleagues, even those who obviously have different perspectives to me and who may criticise me.
“I will engage with all of my colleagues.”
The Taoiseach said as “an experienced politician” he understood the “various perspectives” of his party colleagues.
Fianna Fáil’s worst ever election defeat led to angst among party members over the future of the party.
TDs are expected to air their grievances at a parliamentary party meeting tomorrow.
Offaly TD Barry Cowen is expected to seek a separate meeting where members can discuss the fallout from the by-election and what led to the party receiving less than 5pc of the vote.
There are also expected to be demands to see details of the review of the 2020 General Election when Fianna Fáil also under-performed. Minister of State Seán Fleming has been carrying out this review for a number of months.
One Fianna Fáil TD said Mr Martin would have to “show some humility for once” when he is grilled by party members over the election result.
“He needs to approach this in a more humble manner than usual or it could escalate further than is necessary at the moment,” the TD said.