Facts here, Michael Martin is the Doormat of Leo and Fine Gael; Varadkar has no Respect for Martin at all, the Dogs in Cork even know this?

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Fianna Fáil fury at Micheál letting Leo off hook after hotel fiasco

 12th July 2021


Morale is at ‘rock bottom’ at grassroots level in Fianna Fáil with members left reeling that the Taoiseach rallied behind Leo Varadkar in the wake of the Merrion Hotel scandal, prominent backbench TDs have revealed.Leo Varadkar, Katherine Zappone, Micheal Martin are posing for a picture© Provided by Extra.ie

The Fianna Fáil leader’s defence of the Tánaiste has created greater bitterness in his own party, with one TD saying that the fallout from the Katherine Zappone scandal made Mr Martin look like ‘a doormat’.

Breaking his silence in a statement on Saturday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that the Tánaiste had ‘expressed his regret at attending the Merrion Hotel outdoor event’.Micheal Martin wearing a suit and tie: Morale is at ‘rock bottom’ at grassroots level in Fianna Fáil with members left reeling that the Taoiseach rallied behind Leo Varadkar in the wake of the Merrion Hotel scandal, prominent backbench TDs have revealed. Pic: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie© Provided by Extra.ie Morale is at ‘rock bottom’ at grassroots level in Fianna Fáil with members left reeling that the Taoiseach rallied behind Leo Varadkar in the wake of the Merrion Hotel scandal, prominent backbench TDs have revealed. Pic: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

He added that while the event was not in breach of regulations, the Government accepted that ‘further clarity and consistency’ on guidelines was needed.

Speaking on Wednesday night, one backbencher said that Mr Martin’s handling of the scandal could be a ‘big setback’ for the party in the polls.

‘The party feel let down, particularly by Martin’s uncompromising defence of Leo,’ the TD said.Katherine Zappone, Leo Varadkar posing for the camera: The Fianna Fáil leader’s defence of the Tánaiste has created greater bitterness in his own party, with one TD saying that the fallout from the Katherine Zappone scandal made Mr Martin look like ‘a doormat’. Pic: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie© Provided by Extra.ie The Fianna Fáil leader’s defence of the Tánaiste has created greater bitterness in his own party, with one TD saying that the fallout from the Katherine Zappone scandal made Mr Martin look like ‘a doormat’. Pic: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

‘They feel as though Martin is just a doormat and that his sole objective is to stay in power.’

Mr Varadkar was among 50 guests at the party hosted by former minister Katherine Zappone at the five-star hotel on July 21 – an event that prompted the Attorney General to clarify the regulations around social gatherings in the following days.

The TD said the Taoiseach should have treated the controversy over the event the same way as Golfgate last year.Micheal Martin wearing a suit and tie: Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that the Tánaiste had ‘expressed his regret at attending the Merrion Hotel outdoor event’. Pic: Damien Eagers/PA Wire© Provided by Extra.ie Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that the Tánaiste had ‘expressed his regret at attending the Merrion Hotel outdoor event’. Pic: Damien Eagers/PA Wire

‘It was a great opportunity for us to distance ourselves and say what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,’ they said.

The same consideration [as Golfgate] should apply. The alternative to that would have been to say nothing and keep the head down, but we chose the worst option of all – to come out in full-blown defence of him.

There’s a bad feeling in Fianna Fáil and it will, in due course, have a destabilising effect on the Government.’

He continued: ‘We’re doing badly in the polls after going into government with Fine Gael. After a succession of bad opinion polls and that horrible by-election in Dublin Bay South, the morale of the organisation is very, very low.’Katherine Zappone, Leo Varadkar are posing for a picture: Speaking on Wednesday night, one backbencher said that Mr Martin’s handling of the scandal could be a ‘big setback’ for the party in the polls. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos© Provided by Extra.ie Speaking on Wednesday night, one backbencher said that Mr Martin’s handling of the scandal could be a ‘big setback’ for the party in the polls. Pic: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

Another backbencher also told of how tensions were rising among grassroots members after the events of recent weeks and particularly after Mr Martin’s defence of the Fine Gael leader in the wake of Merriongate.

Certainly at grassroots level, there’s a lot of anger and a lot of resentment,’ they said.

The Merrion Hotel scandal was also described as a ‘major mess’ by another TD, who maintained that the Taoiseach should have ‘reprimanded’ Mr Varadkar for attending the event.a man wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: The Merrion Hotel scandal was also described as a ‘major mess’ by another TD, who maintained that the Taoiseach should have ‘reprimanded’ Mr Varadkar for attending the event. Pic: Damien Eagers/PA Wire© Provided by Extra.ie The Merrion Hotel scandal was also described as a ‘major mess’ by another TD, who maintained that the Taoiseach should have ‘reprimanded’ Mr Varadkar for attending the event. Pic: Damien Eagers/PA Wire

‘The Irish Government kept strict restrictions in place for serious family events including funerals and weddings and this has caused serious consequences with the public’s relationship with Fianna Fáil and the Government,’ they said.

Meanwhile, another TD said the Taoiseach and Fianna Fáil were left open to the damage caused by the scandal after Mr Martin’s ‘failure to deal with’ Simon Coveney’s appointment of Katherine Zappone to the role of UN special envoy for freedom of expression and free speech – a job she turned down in the fallout of the scandal.

The Taoiseach was not told of the former Independent TD’s appointment to the job – announced just days after her ‘farewell party’ – until the issue was raised in cabinet.

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