Micheál Martin says he’ll remain as FF leader after he steps down as taoiseach

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Martin is set to become taoiseach should the membership of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party ratify their agreed programme for government.

FIANNA FÁIL LEADER Micheál Martin has said he will continue to lead his party after he hands over the position of taoiseach to Leo Varadkar.

Martin is set to become taoiseach should the membership of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party ratify their agreed programme for government.

The agreement would see Martin remaining as taoiseach until December 2022 when Fine Gael’s Varadkar takes over the role.

Asked by Ivan Yates on The Tonight Show on Virgin Media Television would he lead his party thereafter, Martin said he he would.

“Yes, what will happen and this is a government for four to five years, and the rotation means I would then become tánaiste and the tánaiste becomes taoiseach, that’s the way it would work out. And that’s important in terms of the cohesion, durability and solidity of the government,” Martin said.

Martin said that he he “up for” the challenge of being taoiseach that he is ready to take unpopular decisions if required.

“I’ve been unpopular before. Yes, I am because it’s the right thing to do but also it’s not about popularity either,” he said.

In all the various ministries I served in, I did things that necessarily one might have anticipated would not have been popular but I went ahead and did them. And I think I’ve demonstrated different in different departments the ability to be radical.

Speaking on the same programme last night Green Party Neasa Hourigan TD, who helped to negotiate the programme for government, said she cannot fully endorse it.

Asked about this stance by Hourigan and others, Martin said he found it “difficult”. 

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“People are entitled to their own perspectives, but I found that personally I found it difficult in the sense that they know the challenges,” he said. 

They also have to accept that there was significant progress made, both on the economic principles that people negotiated in terms of predicting the first half of government and the whole concept of deficit balancing ultimately which I think we all have agreed to, and the Green Party has agreed to that.

“But critically also a stimulus package in July, to try and stimulate jobs in the economy, particularly hospitality and tourism and the SME sector, and then a full-blown economic plan for the budget in October,” he added. 

Martin also said that the vote each party member must take is “serious” and that he believes the proposed government is “transformative”. 

“This is a tripartite government, it’s not a grand coalition, it’s three parties, Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party. The programme is transformative. It does represent a new departure in terms of the kind of society we want to create. In terms of giving people access to housing, access to healthcare in a more timely manner and critically tackling the crisis of our time beyond Covid, the climate change issue. And I think it is transformative in itself.”

Micheal Martin speaking on the Tonight VMTV this evening.

Micheal Martin speaking on the Tonight VMTV this evening.

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