Dublin: Micheal Martin Elected As Eight Leader Of Fianna Fail: UPDATED

26 Jan

Former foreign affairs minister Micheal Martin has been elected as the new and eighth leader of Fianna Fail.

Martin elected Fianna Fail leader Enlarge photo

The Cork TD was the front-runner in the race after Taoiseach Brian Cowen revealed his intention to stand down.

Finance Minister Brian Lenihan, Social Protection and Defence Minister Eamon O Cuiv, and Tourism Minister Mary Hanafin also put themselves forward in the contest.

Immediately after his election as Mr Cowen’s successor, Mr Martin returned to the Dail chamber where he took a seat on the party’s front bench.

Several opposition politicians crossed the floor of the house to shake his hand and congratulate him on taking the leadership, just two weeks after he spearheaded a failed move against Mr Cowen.


Former minister for foreign affairs Micheál Martin has been elected as the new leader of Fianna Fáil.

Mr Martin won a secret ballot of the parliamentary party this afternoon to become the eighth leader of the party.

According to sources, Mr Martin received 33 votes in the first round of voting using proportional representation, followed by Éamon Ó Cuív on 15 votes, Brian Lenihan on 14, and Mary Hanafin on 10.

After Ms Hanafin’s votes were reallocated, Mr Martin had 36, while Mr Lenihan and Mr Ó Cuív had 18 votes each. On elimination of Mr Lenihan, the final result was 50 votes for Mr Martin and 22 for Mr Ó Cuív.

Following the vote the Taoiseach congratulated Mr Martin and offered him his full support.

He described Mr Martin as a politician of “accomplishment and achievement” with all the “right credentials” to be a very successful leader of the party.

“I believe Micheál has proven in his various ministerial roles over the years that he has the essential leadership qualities of focused determination, stamina, collegiality and integrity, which will enable him to become a great leader of the Fianna Fáil party.

Mr Cowen also extended his best wishes to Mr Martin’s family on this “proud day”.

The Minister for Finance, defeated in the contest, also pledged his support to Mr Martin.

In a statement Mr Lenihan thanked his colleagues in the party who showed him “courtesy and good will” during the leadership contest.

“We must now concentrate on the forthcoming election . . . Fianna Fáil will now unite behind the new leader and bring our case to the people,” he added.

Earlier, Mr Cowen was given an ovation at the meeting by his party colleagues.

Ahead of the meeting some 26 TDs made public declarations for Mr Martin.  All four candidates addressed a meeting of the parliamentary party last night that was dedicated to the leadership “hustings”.

All spoke for 15 to 20 minutes, each setting out how they would deal with the critical situation the party is in as it faces into the general election, as well as addressing the longer-term challenges facing the party. All accepted the party will be going into opposition for at least one Dáil term.


The newly elected leader of Fianna Fáil, Micheál Martin has challenged the leaders of the Opposition to take part in a series of political debates ahead of the General Election.

 Micheál Martin - Eighth leader of Fianna Fáil
 Micheál Martin – Eighth leader of Fianna Fáil
 Fianna Fáil - Four candidates
Fianna Fáil – Four candidates

At a news conference, Mr Martin said there needed to be a determined approach to reforming politics and government.

After Mr Martin’s election as party leader, the Taoiseach congratulated him on his victory and said he would offer whatever support he could to him.

Mr Cowen stood down as party leader on Saturday, after his attempted Cabinet reshuffle was blocked by the Green Party, which subsequently pulled out of Coalition Government.

Speaking in a Dublin hotel this afternoon, Mr Martin said empty slogans of the left and right will never deliver for the people of Ireland.

He said with the right policies, Ireland will and can come through the current crisis.

The Fianna Fáil leader said next week he would detail the policies and plans his party has for the future of Ireland.

Micheál Martin said the electoral campaign would be an opportunity to listen to people and devise a plan on how to deal with the future and lead Ireland out of its current difficulties.

He said people needed to deal with real issues and not be concerned with polls. He said he did not expect an overnight success when it came to improving the Fianna Fáil positions in the polls.

Mr Martin said he would name a deputy leader ‘shortly’.


The former Minister for Foreign Affairs was selected as the eighth leader Fianna Fáil by deputies at a meeting of the parliamentary party this afternoon.

The new leader said he was delighted with the result.

Mr Martin was seen as the front runner in the contest. The other candidates were Ministers Éamon Ó Cuív, Brian Lenihan and Mary Hanafin.

It is understood that Mr Martin was elected after three counts and that the runner up was Mr Ó Cuív.

Mr Martin is understood to have received 33 votes after the first count, Mr Ó Cuív received 15, Brian Lenihan had 14 and Mary Hanafin was on ten.

After Ms Hanafin’s elimination and the distribution of her votes, Mr Lenihan and Mr Ó Cuív were level, but the Minister for Finance was eliminated on the basis of having had a lower first-count figure.

Cowen offers ‘full support’ to Martin

Taoiseach Brian Cowen has congratulated Mr Martin on his election and says he has his full support.

Mr Cowen said: ‘I have told Micheál he has my full support in his new role and I wish him the very best in the immediate task of leading the party into the election.

‘Micheál Martin is a politician of accomplishment and achievement and he has all the right credentials to be a very successful leader of our party.’

Mr Lenihan said Mr Martin was ‘a highly experienced and capable politician’, who has his full support as leader.

He added: ‘We must now concentrate on the forthcoming election. Fianna Fáil will now unite behind the new leader and bring our case to the people.’

Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher has called on the people of Ireland to row in behind the new leader of the party.

Speaking after the announcement, the Cork North Central TD said he is confident that his colleague will restore confidence in Fianna Fáil voters.

Mr Martin’s constituency colleague in Cork South Central Michael McGrath has welcomed the former minister’s election.

Mr McGrath said it represents a fresh start for the party and a tremendous opportunity for Fianna Fáil to go into the election with renewed enthusiasm.

Ahead of the vote, Mr Cowen said the party needed to remain united. His speech was given a standing ovation by those present.


DÁIL DEPARTURES: OF THE 34 TDs who have confirmed they will not contest the general election, 19 are Fianna Fáil deputies and in three constituencies no sitting party deputy is going forward.

Dublin South, a five-seater, and two three-seat constituencies, Dublin North East and Roscommon-South Leitrim, will see no Fianna Fáil TDs contesting.

Senator Maria Corrigan has been selected for Fianna Fáil in Dublin South. Sitting Fianna Fáil TD Tom Kitt will retire at the election and a seat remains vacant in the constituency after former Fine Gael TD George Lee resigned the seat he won in the byelection brought about by the death of former Fianna Fáil minister Séamus Brennan.

In Dublin North East, the long-serving Fianna Fáil TD Dr Michael Woods is retiring. At a selection convention last Friday, Avril Power was chosen to contest the constituency for the party. Minister of State for the Environment Michael Finneran will retire in Roscommon-South Leitrim, and a selection convention is scheduled to take place on Sunday.

Eight Fine Gael TDs will not contest the next election. The two sitting Fine Gael TDs in Galway East, Ulick Burke and Paul Connaughton, have announced their retirement, meaning no party deputy will contest the four-seater. A similar situation applies in the three-seater Cork South West, where Jim O’Keeffe and PJ Sheehan have confirmed they are stepping down.

In Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael’s only TD Seymour Crawford will not stand again, while the only party deputy in Galway West, Pádraic McCormack, has also announced his retirement. With Bernard Allen stepping down in Cork North Central, the party also has no sitting deputy going forward in the constituency. The other Fine Gael TD not contesting is Olwyn Enright in Laois-Offaly. Fine Gael candidates are in place following selection conventions.

Four Labour TDs have confirmed they will not contest. Long-serving deputy Michael D Higgins, Labour’s only TD in the five-seat Galway West constituency, is retiring. Liz McManus, the party’s sole deputy in Wicklow, also a five-seater, is stepping down. A similar situation applies in the five-seat Dublin South Central constituency, where Mary Upton is not going forward again. In the four-seat Waterford constituency, Labour’s only TD Brian O’Shea will not contest the election.

The other Fianna Fáil TDs not going forward include four deputies who were ministers until last week: Dermot Ahern (Louth); Noel Dempsey (Meath West); Tony Killeen (Clare) and Batt O’Keeffe (Cork North West).

Former taoiseach Bertie Ahern will not contest in Dublin Central, while his brother Noel Ahern, a former minister of state, announced on Monday night he would not run again in Dublin North West. Other former ministers of state who have confirmed they will not run are: Ned O’Keeffe (Cork East); Noel Treacy (Galway East); Mary Wallace (Meath East) and Dr Jimmy Devins (Sligo-North Leitrim).

Former minister Dr Rory O’Hanlon will not contest in Cavan-Monaghan, with Seán Ardagh stepping down in Dublin South Central. Neither Beverley Flynn (Mayo) nor MJ Nolan (Carlow-Kilkenny) will go forward again.

Two Fianna Fáil TDs elected to the 30th Dáil have already left. They are former minister Martin Cullen (Waterford) and former minister of state Dr James McDaid (Donegal North East). Mr Cullen resigned as minister for arts, sport and tourism last March for health reasons. Dr McDaid, who had been without the party whip, resigned last November.

The Sinn Féin TD in Louth, Arthur Morgan, will not run again. Two Independent deputies have announced their intention not to contest.

They are former minister for health Mary Harney (Dublin Mid-West) and the Kerry South TD Jackie Healy-Rae.

Between 15 and 25 TDs normally retire at each election.


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