Taoiseach rejects claim that party leadership blocked Marc MacSharry’s Fianna Fáil return
– 4h ago
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has told a private meeting of his own party that it is “outrageous and reprehensible” to suggest that he or the party leadership orchestrated the delay to Marc MacSharry rejoining Fianna Fáil.
Taoiseach rejects claim that party leadership blocked Marc MacSharry’s Fianna Fáil return© Provided by Irish Examiner
The Irish Examiner can reveal that Mr Martin told his own party that he has found the Marc MacSharry episode “distressing”. Mr MacSharry’s admittance to the party dominated the start of last week’s private meeting with lengthy and sharp exchanges between Mr Martin and his party.
Mr Martin was challenged by TDs and Senators who said there was a belief that the party deliberately orchestrated the situation to stop Mr MacSharry from rejoining.
Former minister and Offaly TD, Barry Cowen, opened the exchanges by saying he felt Mr MacSharry’s re-admittance should not be linked to the complaint made against him by councillor Donal Gilroy over comments made in a WhatsApp group. He said the issue of a complaint should be dealt with in parallel.
“It is divisive, and I don’t think it should be. The longer it goes the more frenzy it becomes,” Mr Cowen said.
Senator Diarmuid Wilson, who seconded the motion to re-admit Mr MacSharry, initially said it was Mr MacSharry’s belief that there was “a deliberate attempt” to block him from re-entering the party.
“But Marc believes there is a deliberate attempt to prevent him from rejoining the party. That is his belief, and I am just putting it on the record.”
Mr Martin rejected that assertion saying: “Is he not hopefully suggesting that someone here is doing that? That has to be refuted in the strongest possible terms.”
Mr Wilson responded by saying: “I am only putting on record of this parliamentary party what his belief is, and he is not the only person who believes that.”
Mr Wilson then said the Whatsapp messages that are referred to in the complaint against Mr MacSharry [the stated reason for delaying his re-entry to the party] relate to early July. “The complaint was received the day after the phone call he had with you last week,” he retorted.
Mr Martin said that he found “all this very distressing”.
Referring to Mr Cowen’s proposal to re-admit Mr MacSharry, he said: “Barry, when you tabled the motion, as you said in the spirit of conciliation, I took that on board and accepted that.”
Showing a degree of frustration, Mr Martin said his conversation with Mr MacSharry was leaked to the media, and it was not him who did it.
“I felt Marc and I just needed a discussion. We had a chat over the phone, that was leaked, I didn’t anyway. We read about this in the paper. So, the whole process with this has been briefings, briefings, briefings,” he told the meeting.
He said this should never have gotten to where we are now, but he said it can be resolved very quickly by way of an informal chat as opposed to an in-depth investigation.
Mr Martin said this information came to him “late in the day”, that they took legal advice, and they were told to only tell the party the week before that “a matter had arisen”.
That is what he did in the meeting, but said others briefed the media on it and it “grew legs”. He insisted he wants it concluded to allow Mr MacSharry rejoin next week.