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Taoiseach Micheal Martin set for unhappy 60th birthday as Fianna Fail on brink of civil war

Irish Mirror logoIrish Mirror 01/08/2020 John Kierans
Ireland's Prime Minister Micheal Martin after a last roundtable discussion following a four days European summit at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, early July 21, 2020. - EU leaders approved a 750-billion-euro package to revive their coronavirus-ravaged economies after a tough 90-hour summit on July 21, along with a trillion-euro budget for the next seven years. (Photo by JOHANNA GERON / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JOHANNA GERON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) © Getty Images Ireland's Prime Minister Micheal Martin after a last roundtable discussion following a four days European summit at the European Council in Brussels, Belgium, early July 21, 2020. - EU leaders approved a 750-billion-euro package to revive their coronavirus-ravaged economies after a tough 90-hour summit on July 21, along with a trillion-euro budget for the next seven years. (Photo by JOHANNA GERON / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JOHANNA GERON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Taosieach Micheal Martin has plenty to think about as he celebrates his 60th birthday today.

Whether he likes it or not, he has become one of the country’s most hated leaders after only a handful of weeks in office – and in political terms he looks like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

Party support is down by nearly half since the election, languishing at 12 to 15% in the opinion polls.

And behind the scenes his own party is on the brink of civil war as a campaign to get Martin out starts to slowly build momentum.

A senior Fianna Fail backbencher told the Mirror: “He has made enemies all over the place. Micheal’s interest became the national interest.

Ireland's prime minister Micheal Martin speaks to the press before a meeting of the North South Ministerial Council on July 31, 2020. (Photo by PAUL FAITH / AFP) (Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images) © Getty Images Ireland's prime minister Micheal Martin speaks to the press before a meeting of the North South Ministerial Council on July 31, 2020. (Photo by PAUL FAITH / AFP) (Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images)

“The decision to enter Government with Fine Gael is now deeply resented by ordinary party members. Many feel he forced us to sign our death warrant as an organisation so he could become Taoiseach.

“Many TDs were promised various ministerial jobs to get a vote in favour of going into government by their constituency organisation, but then they got shafted at the end of the day.

“There is a malaise across the whole Fianna Fail party at the moment. Most members would have preferred to do business with Sinn Fein. Varadkar has us where he wants us and sadly Micheal makes Leo look good every day.”.

The litany of mistakes by the Martin Government includes

  • The appointment and then public sacking of Barry Cowen.
  • The snubbing of party heavyweight Jim O’Callaghan.
  • No cabinet minister initially appointed for the west of Ireland.
  • The €16,000 pay rise for super cabinet ministers.
  • The dithering over whether the Irish public could holiday abroad.
  • Creating a staycation tax rebate for families – then not giving it until the summer holidays.
  • The Taoiseach going to the Brussels summit and refusing to self-isolate like the rest of the us on his return.
  • Publicly claiming the summit was a success when Ireland will be paying the EU more than €16billion and only getting €1.2billion back to help us cope with the COVID 19 economic fallout, and
  • Cutting people’s €350 a week Covid payments because they went on holiday.

The new FG, FF, and Greens coalition seems to be doing u-turn after u-turn and apologising every other day for some of its decisions.

Another FF TD revealed: “The whole thing has been a mess. At the moment I cannot see this Government, never mind Micheal Martin, lasting two and a half years in office.

“I feel sorry for the Greens. Most of them are only new deputies and have promised the people the sun, moon and stars but won’t be able to deliver.

“They will start falling like flies, they already lost one yesterday – Neasa Hourigan, who resigned after voting against the Government. The only salvation for Micheal is the Dail is not sitting for the next six weeks, and it gives the Government a chance to sort itself out.

“It also passed too much legislation in recent weeks without enough scrutiny and that has to stop.

“If they can steady the ship and survive the autumn, maybe things will improve. The key is to get the kids safely back to school.

“The Taoiseach’s problem is he is not decisive and can’t make up his mind on issues. This is not helpful if you are a prime minister.

“The Micheal and Leo thing is also a bit strange. Leo is Tanaiste but yet he is like a super Tanaiste, and voters kind of still look at him as the real Taoiseach.We are now a bit like the North where you have a First MInister and Deputy First Minister who are both equal.”

Micheal Martin’s supporters dismiss his critics. They admit some mistakes have been made but it is not a catastrophe. They believe he can pull the country around and get the recovery going and then voters will return to Fianna Fail.

However his critics fear if there is another snap election and the house of cards come tumbling down Fianna Fail could be wiped out forever.

And Micheal Martin might be the last FF Taoiseach we could ever see.

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