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Hanafin highlights stiff task ahead for Martin

Editorial

Hanafin highlights stiff task ahead for Martin


THE Budget may be just five weeks away but there was good news for Enda Kenny and his coalition at the weekend with the latest Red C poll showing a rise in popularity for the Government.
Political parties are often quick to disregard the result of opinion polls but they can’t deny that showing up well in the polls is a confidence booster and the coalition will return to Leinster House this week with a pep in their step.
Similarly, Sinn Féin will be happy to have maintained their position as the second largest party in the country on a healthy 23 percent but Fianna Fáil supporters will be slightly worried as they remain static on 18 percent.
The poll from The Sunday Business Post at the weekend is bound to be talked about as Fianna Fáil TDs head west for a two day ‘think-in’ in Roscommon, and there is probably going to be some soul searching among the party’s front bench in light of the harsh words from former front-bencher, Cllr Mary Hanafin, who criticised her colleagues for being ‘anonymous’.
She is right when she says there is a real lack of household names among the party’s contingent in the Dáil and there-in lies the real problem for Michéal Martin. He has done well in rebuilding the party at grassroots level, so much so that Fianna Fáil won the highest percentage of the overall national vote during the recent local elections, but transferring that into Dáil seats is a whole different ball game, and Martin now realises that his opposition spokespeople must up their game in the coming months.
Martin is now also heading into a crucial period for his own leadership. He may face a near impossible task in getting his party back into power after the next election but if he is to stand any chance himself of becoming Taoiseach one day, he has to find a way to increase Fianna Fáil’s popularity and continue to forge a clear path to recovery for a party decimated at the last General Election.