Galway Fianna Fáil trusts the judgment of controversial Connemara TD Éamon Ó Cuív far more than of party leader Micheál Martin, following the latest confrontation between the two men.
This is the view of Fianna Fáil county councillor Seamus Walsh who said that party members and those from outside the FF tent “feel that Éamon Ó Cuív is speaking the truth and may people were looking for him to take this stance”.
Cllr Walsh was speaking to the Galway Advertiser following Tuesday’s declaration by Dep Ó Cuív that he would not be leaving the party and that he would make no further pronouncements on the Fiscal Compact Treaty in the run up to the referendum at the end of the month.
There had been intense speculation over the weekend that Dep Ó Cuív was on the verge of splitting from the party to become either an Independent or leading a break-away faction of FF.
Cllr Walsh described the silencing of Dep Ó Cuív as “draconian”.
“What is wrong for an Opposition party to have a view that is different from the Government’s?” he asked. “We are not going to lose our 19 seats over it nor will we bring down the Government over having this view. It proves that some people in Fianna Fáil have a brain. The grassroots are crying out for us to become relevant again and to put forward a coherent opposition to the Government.”
Cllr Walsh said many within Fianna Fáil were unimpressed that Micheál Martin had pledged the party to a Yes vote but that many were unwilling to tackle the leader on this issue publicly.
“They don’t want to split the party on this issue,” he said. “However they do feel that Martin ignored the party and that he jumped the gun, backing the Fine Gael-Labour Government, just following it blindly. We are pro-EU but there is nothing wrong with asking questions.”
However Cllr Walsh said Dep Ó Cuív “knows the feeling on the ground” and that many felt he was “speaking the truth” when being critical of the Fiscal Compact Treaty.
When asked if he foresees a leadership challenge to Micheál Martin, Cllr Walsh replied: “I do not think it has come to that yet but it is going in that direction. Galway West would like to see Ó Cuív as leader.”