The final decision on when he will retire as leader of Fianna Fáil rests with Micheál Martin, according to Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath.
“I believe that if he wants to be the leader going into the next election then he will be,” Mr McGrath told Newstalk Breakfast.
“I think he is doing an excellent job, the man could not be giving it any more. I see up close every day the commitment he is giving to the role and the office of Taoiseach and I think he deserves the support of the parliamentary party and deserves the support of the general public.”
Mr McGrath said that Mr Martin was trying to lead the country through a global pandemic.
The party’s leadership issues should be resolved behind closed doors, he said. “I don’t think the public are consumed about internal FF issues and I think we should deal with them privately.”
A ‘difficult’ byelection
There should be open, frank discussions when people could say what they wanted, but there was also a need for coherence, he said. However, the public wanted to see political parties focusing on the issues that really mattered to them.
Martin to hold in-person Fianna Fáil meeting over…
Fianna Fáil had endured a “difficult” byelection, he said, the result of which was clearly “not acceptable to a party such as us”.
“We do need to examine the underlying reasons for that and we will do that but we will do it in a calm and considered way,” Mr McGrath said.
It had been agreed that there would be a special meeting of the parliamentary party at the beginning of September, where all of the issues could be debated and members could speak freely and frankly and in a respectful way.
“That will happen I think in what is the correct forum and I look forward very much to that debate and participating in it,” Mr McGrath said.