Marc MacSharry, Quits, and then we have, Martin’s Kangaroo Courts?

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EXCLUSIVE The expletive-laden texts at the centre of bullying probe as Marc MacSharry resigns from Fianna Fáil

In a statement, the Sligo-Leitrim TD was critical of Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s handling of the investigation

Marc MacSharry has quit Fianna Fáil, using his statement to criticise the Taoiseach’s treatment of him as well as his running of the party. Photo: Gareth Chaney
Taoiseach Micheál Martin was strongly criticised by Marc MacSharry. Photo: Frank McGrath

Marc MacSharry has quit Fianna Fáil, using his statement to criticise the Taoiseach’s treatment of him as well as his running of the party.

 November 02 2022 02:30 AM


Marc MacSharry has resigned from Fianna Fáil, ending his family’s association with the party that stretches back nearly 40 years.

In a strongly worded statement, Mr MacSharry said his decision to quit is due to Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s handling of an investigation into a bullying complaint made against him by a Fianna Fáil councillor.

The Sligo-Leitrim TD described the complaint made by councillor Donal Gilroy as “highly politically motivated”, adding that its timing was “unquestionably suspicious” given it was made ahead of his readmittance to the party.

“The handling of this complaint has involved the blatant manipulation of written Fianna Fáil party procedures together with a breach of confidentiality and denial of due process by party officials and the leadership,” he said.

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Marc MacSharry’s top outbursts in the Dáil

The Irish Independent can also reveal the text messages at the centre of the bullying complaint by Mr Gilroy.

The expletive-filled messages, which appeared in a Fianna Fáil WhatsApp group for Sligo representatives, show Mr MacSharry sharply criticising Mr Gilroy for comments he made on Ocean FM about the TD’s efforts to secure additional cardiology services for their local hospital.

“Nothing like trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory,” Mr MacSharry wrote into the group on July 13.

“Ye fairly tried to f**k me there pouring water all over it, praising (Fine Gael minister Frank) Feighan and the others. It would sicken yer hole. Good man best of luck,” he added

Yesterday, the councillor said he stood over his complaint

On October 3, when Mr Gilroy again discussed the cath lab on his local radio station, Mr MacSharry questioned his motives.

“Donal. What the f**k?? Again Ocean (FM) this morning on cardiology services. For f**k sake, to what end???.” he said.

Mr MacSharry urged him to speak to cardiologists and hospital management in Sligo University Hospital, who he said were happy with progress being made on securing extra services.

“Regional Health Forum/(retracted) or whomever loading gun are clearly a distance behind the curve but sure keep it up as I said before, ‘nothing like snatching deaf from The jaws of victory,’” he added.

Mock-up of the text messages at the centre of councillor Donal Gilroy’s bully complaint against former Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry

In his letter of complaint, Mr Gilroy said he considered “this behaviour to be bullying of Deputy MacSharry aimed at me personally”.

Yesterday, the councillor said he stood over his complaint, saying “that sort of behaviour is not acceptable”.

Mr Gilroy also said he “never spoke” to the Taoiseach about the complaint.

“I’ve spoken to Micheál Martin probably four times in my entire life and the longest one would have been about four years ago and it was in the company of Marc,” he added.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin was strongly criticised by Marc MacSharry. Photo: Frank McGrath

Taoiseach Micheál Martin was strongly criticised by Marc MacSharry. Photo: Frank McGrath

In his resignation statement, Mr MacSharry accused the Taoiseach of using the complaint for “political gain at national level” to “delay and prevent” his re-admission to the parliamentary party.

“This recent complaint related to exchanges between us over several months on services I have secured for Sligo University Hospital and their significance. It was a robust issue and robust language was used,” Mr MacSharry said.

“He knows that I am critical of his performance as Taoiseach and his support within the parliamentary party is wafer thin. My re-admission would have been a problem for him, so he has used this complaint for his own purposes.”

Last week, Mr Martin told a parliamentary party meeting there was no attempt by him or the Fianna Fáil hierarchy to prevent Mr MacSharry returning to the party.

Mr MacSharry said the investigation instigated by the Taoiseach is a “non-starter as the confidentiality required has been broken by the public statements of the Taoiseach and the Chief Whip”.

However, Mr Martin denied there was a side deal with any TD before the vote

“The Taoiseach has tried to brush this under the carpet with claims that I have not engaged,” he added.

Mr MacSharry resigned from Fianna Fáil’s parliamentary party as he could not vote confidence in Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney over a Covid rule-breaching party.

In his resignation letter, he said Fianna Fáil was being run “in a fashion consistent with an undemocratic totalitarian regime”. Mr MacSharry did not resign from Fianna Fáil and continued to vote with the Government in the Dáil.

After a motion of no confidence in the Government was tabled by Sinn Féin in July, Mr MacSharry issued a statement saying he voted with the Coalition following a commitment that cardiology services in Sligo will be boosted.

He said he held talks with the Taoiseach and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly before voting with the Government.

However, Mr Martin denied there was a side deal with any TD before the vote, which led to Mr Gilroy telling his local radio station that there are “different interpretations” of what was promised.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin was strongly criticised by Marc MacSharry. Photo: Frank McGrath

The councillor said it “was only playing games really” and the focus should be on securing the cardiology service. These comments led to Mr MacSharry’s first message to the WhatsApp group.

On October 5, Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen and Senator Diarmuid Wilson proposed Mr MacSharry’s readmittance to the parliamentary party.

The proposal was criticised by Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, while the Taoiseach did not immediately accept the motion.

At a meeting on October 12, Mr Martin said a motion would be tabled proposing Mr MacSharry’s return the next week. The next day, Mr Gilroy emailed his letter of complaint to Fianna Fáil headquarters.

On October 14, the Irish Independent reported details of a tense phone call between the Taoiseach and the TD in the days before that meeting.

At the next Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting, Mr Martin said the motion for readmittance could not go ahead as a matter had arisen related to Mr MacSharry.

It later emerged the decision to delay his return was made on the back of Mr Gilroy’s complaint.

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