Republic of Ireland news

Support among Fianna Fáil TDs and senators for Micheál Martin presidential bid

Taoiseach Micheál Martin. Picture by Brian Lawless/PA Wire

MICHEÁL Martin has significant support among Fianna Fáil TDs and senators should he decide to run for the presidency, according to reports.

Significant numbers of Fianna Fáil parliamentary party members have indicated they would back Mr Martin, who is due to stand down as taoiseach at the end of the year, if he fancies running for the Arás.

The party's support emerged as Mr Martin's popularity was confirmed in a recent Irish Times/Ipsos poll which saw his satisfaction ratings jump by eight points to 51 per cent.

In recent weeks, speculation has intensified among Fianna Fáil Oireachtas members about the prospect of Mr Martin becoming the party's first candidate for the presidency since 2004, when Mary McAleese sought a second term.

Cork East TD James O'Connor told the Mail on Sunday that the debate around his party leader's candidacy will "come up in the next two years as President [Michael D] Higgins's term comes to an end".

The president of Ireland is only permitted to hold two successive terms in office. Despite saying that he would run in only one election, President Higgins successfully ran for office again in 2018.

It is thought the parties planning to put forward a candidate for the presidency, would need to identify their candidate in 2024, ahead of the coalition government's March 2025 general election deadline.

Mr O'Connor said Fianna Fáil needed to stand a candidate in the next presidential election.

"It was one of a series of strategic errors the party made by not contesting the previous two presidential elections, in my view," he said.

"It's important that we will run the very best candidate that we have for the role. I think the taoiseach would be somebody that would be suitable given his experience in cabinet and government. I think he's given the state some service as well during his duration of time in public life."

Mr O'Connor echoed the sentiments of many within his party, including some of Mr Martin's previous critics, who believe the taoiseach has projected a statesman-like image during a time of international crisis.

"Definitely that has been the case – when faced with different crises, he's kept a cool, calm and collected view on the situation," the Fianna Fáil TD said.

"That's always a very good sign of a leader. And certainly, that's a skill that is important when you're trying to find somebody suitable to occupy the role in the Arás."

There also been speculation Mr Martin would consider taking the European Commission job when it becomes available in 2024.

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