Galway West TD Eamon Ó Cuív has expressed his disappointment that Fianna Fáil and Northern Ireland’s SDLP have decided to back away from a merger.
According to Deputy Ó Cuív there would be huge enthusiasm among politicians in Northern Ireland to stand for Fianna Fáil if they had decided to run candidates in the upcoming local elections.
It had been rumoured for some time that the two parties were planning to merge and become a single cross-border Fianna Fáil.
However leaders Micheál Martin and Colum Eastwood have announced today that the two parties will form a new “partnership” that will not involve joint candidates.
Speaking to the Irish Independent’s Floating Voter podcast, Eamon Ó Cuív said that the SDLP’s pull in Northern Ireland has fallen so far that a large number of their representatives would have transferred immediately to Fianna Fáil.
It’s no secret that Deputy Ó Cuív is a strong supporter of Fianna Fáil becoming a party that operates in both the Republic and Northern Ireland.
In November he was sacked from the party’s frontbench for a announcing, along with Senator Mark Daly, that Sorcha McAnespy would be the first ever FF candidate in Northern elections, which he did without approval from the party leadership.
At the time Deputy Ó Cuív sad he accepted the decision and it was entirely up to Micheál Martin who served on his frontbench.
However he has insisted that despite the certainty of a negative reaction to the stunt, Fianna Fáil need to be pushed to move North.
Asked about this recent “partnership” announcement Mr Ó Cuív said, “I hope it is a stepping stone, but that remains to be seen”.