Did you catch Micheál Martin on RTÉ’s Prime Time Tuesday last? No, Virginia, I don’t mean in the Covid-19 sense – Micheál is not a virus.
Micheál told Miriam that he had never in the past put the party first and would continue to do so. He also told her he was concerned about the Leaving Certificate – he didn’t want it to happen, and no, he wasn’t “playing political games”. He wanted Fine Gael to “come clean on this.”
The recent Red C poll, Miriam said, had showed FF on 14%. Had he thought about that? Micheál told Miriam “polls don’t faze me at all.” “But why are SF on 27%?” Miriam asked again. Micheál repeated that he’s not fazed by polls. That wasn’t an answer to the question but Micheál is not a man who likes discussing the fact that the party his party is just about half as popular as the party he refuses to talk to, let alone form a government with.
But Donegal FF councillors aren’t a bit happy about coalition with FG, Miriam said. Will the FF party members be allowed to vote on a coalition? Yes, they will, Micheál said. He’s that kind of guy- democratic to a fault.
As for a second election, Micheál figured it’d be a foolish party that “chanced their arm” with a second election. Would he reconsider going into government with Sinn Féin? No – a strong majority of his party had voted not to engage with Sinn Féin. Despite everything that has happened? Sinn Féin’s policy on climate change was very poor – so no alliance with Sinn Féin.
Micheál wasn’t grilled by Miriam – see double-dodging of direct SF question – which is a pity. Somewhere out there, someone is going to conduct an interview on TV and they will handcuff the FF or FG leader to the coffee table and refuse to free him until he explains fully why he insists on treating SF like freshly-delivered dog-poo. And yes, that’s the party which got the highest total of first preference votes in the recent election. It can’t all revolve around their statements about climate change. Besides, isn’t that what negotiations between parties are all about? The Greens went into talks and inside hours they had a commitment from the two Civil War parties that they’d start treating climate crisis as the planet-killing problem it is.
Micheál Martin looks even more than usual like a worried man. And with reason. Because out there somewhere, there is an RTE interviewer with the cojones to pin down reasons for tMicheál brain being riddled with Shinnerphobia.
Final note: Doesn’t Miriam have a brother who’s a big wheel in FF? And shouldn’t she declare that interest before she starts questioning the Fianna Fail leader?