Former Fianna Fáil minister Barry Cowen has sought a special meeting of the party in the wake of its disastrous result in the Dublin Bay South byelection.
As The Irish Times reports, in an email to party colleagues Mr Cowen said the result - where Fianna Fáil’s candidate Cllr Deirdre Conroy got less than 5 per cent of the vote - is “both a shock and alarming but strangely not hugely surprising.”
He says: “It cannot simply be brushed aside, ignored or not examined” and he also said he believes the electorate deserve a Fianna Fáil that is “fit for purpose”.
Mr Cowen’s communication to party colleagues does not mention the issue of Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s leadership.
He has previously said he does not think Mr Martin will lead Fianna Fáil into the next election.
Mr Martin has insisted that he intends to do this and reiterated that yesterday after the byelection result.
Mr Cowen’s letter says he wants a meeting of the party in the summer that people can attend in person to discuss the byelection result and last year’s General Election performance.
He said: “We are still awaiting the Fianna Fáil review of our dismal election of February 2020.
“I know it is considered better not to have an election post-mortem too soon after the event but such a delay is simply inexplicable at this stage.
“It is imperative that both that election and the latest bad result now comes under the microscope of the Parliamentary Party.”
He adds: “There is little or no justification for further delay on these matters.I appreciate the Government has priority legislation to deal with in the coming week.
“I understand some may feel Government is working well and addressing issues of grave concern around Covid, housing, health, climate change etc.”
Fit for purpose
Mr Cowen writes: “I recognise byelections offer opportunities for an electorate to send messages. It is good manners to respond to these messages.
“Our Parliamentary Party, its leadership and executive personnel of the party should meet during the summer to reflect, discuss and take on board these messages."
He said he believes the electorate deserve a focused, cohesive FF party, that is fit for purpose to serve as a "republican party of the 21st century.”
Laois-Offaly TD Mr Cowen was sacked from his role of Minister for Agriculture by Mr Martin last summer after a controversy over a four-year old drink-driving ban.