Éamon Ó Cuív calls for Micheál Martin to be replaced as Fianna Fáil leader

Galway Daily news Eamon O Cuiv disappointed Fianna Fáil not going ahead with SDLP merger

Galway West Fianna Fáil TD Éamon Ó Cuív has hit out at the leadership of his party, calling for a new party leader and a change of direction.

Speaking to Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio One yesterday, Deputy Ó Cuív said that the party’s decline is self-inflicted, and it should have considered entering government with Sinn Féin instead of Fine Gael.

“I was opposed to the present arrangement, because basically we joined Fine Gael in government, who had failed the people according to the people’s verdict in two governments since 2011,” said the Galway TD.

“Remember, Fine Gael had an extraordinary decline between 2011 when it got 76 seats, down to 50, down to 35. And miraculously, we rescued them back into government.

“My reading at the time was the people want a much more radical government, proactive government, much more inclusive government, and they didn’t want Fine Gael back in government.”

Asked if his party should have teamed up with Sinn Féin instead of the Greens and Fine Gael, Deputy Ó Cuív said: “With whoever – yes – with Sinn Féin if that was the other option and we certainly should have looked at the option.

“But that decision was taken and I was willing to accept that.

“But you can’t sit there and watch what was a very very large party that represented huge swathes of the people go into terminal decline and not at some stage say, well hang on a second, we need to look at everything again – the whole approach of the party.”

He said that he disagrees with the policy direction the party is taking under the current party leadership: “I do think we need a new leader, I do believe we need a change of direction.”

Ó Cuív told Claire Byrne that they have yet to have a review of ‘what went wrong in the election’ – or look at ‘what’s gone wrong since the election’.

“It is an extraordinary situation we find ourselves in. It is the first time ever that a Taoiseach who lost power winds up as Tánaiste in the subsequent government.”

The next election could be a scrap between Fine Gael and Sinn Féin – with all the other parties including Fianna Fáil just ‘making up the numbers’, he added.