Micheal Martin panic: Irish leader’s ‘honeymoon over’ as crisis hits Varadkar replacement

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Mr Martin has admitted his appointment as leader of the nation will cause a political crisis amongs the more ambitious members of his own party Fianna Fáil. Fianna Fáil has for decades been the major opponent of Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael, but now the rival parties must share power. The unprecedented coalition has been seen as a cynical move to keep Sinn Féin from the reins of power.

Mr Martin’s own TD (Irish member of parliament) Michael Moynihan expressed his anger at not being appointed a role in the new government.

Mr Moynihan claimed Mr Martin had disrespected both him and his community after he was not appointed as a junior minister in the new government.

Mr Moynihan said he had “taken a lot of s**t” for Mr Martin over the years, as the two appeared live on Cork’s 96FM radio station.

Mr Martin side-stepped the question and said: “I would make the point we can’t take our focus off what the key issues are for the general public and the people out there, which is to continue to suppress Covid and I’m focused on that.”

The nature of the precarious coalition government that now controls the Republic of Ireland is such that key positions must be allocated to rival parties, such as Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael.

Amid the revolving positions of power Mr Varadkar still clings to remnants of his former control.

He now holds the position of Tánaiste, which means he is second in command to the incumbent Mr Martin.

The newly-elected Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Mr Martin has spoken of the complexities in trying to allocate roles to satisfy the three parties that form the coalition government.

The government is now propped up by three parties, Mr Martin’s Fianna Fáil which has 37 seats, Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael which has 35 seats, and Eamon Ryan’s Green Party which has 12 seats.

Mr Martin said: “I knew in advance that the day I would be making those ministerial appointments that the honeymoon would end very quickly because simply there are not enough positions to allocate.

“I think the fact that Fianna Fáil were not in government for 10 years meant there was a lot of pent up desire and expectation from an individual and personal point of view that they would get a ministerial office.

“But there were five ministerial offices, senior ministerial offices to allocate and there were eight junior ministers after that, and clearly people were going to be disappointed.

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“And people were disappointed and I understand that.”

The new coalition government that saw opposition parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael share power has been largely seen as a mechanism to keep Sinn Féin out.

Sinn Féin, with historical links to the IRA, took 37 seats in the last general election.

The success of the republican party was a huge shock to the establishment in the state.

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