Martin hits back after criticism that Varadkar 'running rings' around him

ireland
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Digital Desk staff

Updated 5.20pm

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has today hit back at forceful internal criticism from some of his party’s own TDs.

The Taoiseach faced disapproval at a private Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting yesterday, as TD Marc MacSharry said Tánaiste Leo Varadkar was “running rings” around him at press conferences.

The Sligo-Leitrim TD described Mr Martin’s relationship with his TDs as similar to one between a teacher and his students, as the Taoiseach also came under fire for failing to include his TDs and senators in the Government's decision-making process.

Mr Martin hit back at the criticism this afternoon, saying he remained focused on “issues of substance”.

He’s entitled to his views, I disagree of course with them, and I focus on the issues of substance such as dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, dealing also of course with the challenges of Brexit.

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“To be very clear, from the very outset since I formed the Cabinet and appointed my Ministers, Marc MacSharry has made it clear that he is dissatisfied,” he said.

“So he’s entitled to his views, I disagree of course with them, and I focus on the issues of substance such as dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic, dealing also of course with the challenges of Brexit.”

'Scaring the bejaysus'

Mr MacSharry also called on the Taoiseach to stop acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn from appearing on television every night as he was “scaring the bejaysus” out of viewers.

Mr Martin rebuked Mr MacSharry for his comments: “Where I would seriously disagree with Marc is his comments in relation to the chief medical officer, and that we should take him off the screens, or somehow disappear him from public view.

“I think that was something I couldn’t quite comprehend because the Irish people want to hear from the chief medical officer, they value and respect the chief medical officer Ronan Glynn, and indeed his predecessor Tony Holohan. Why – because in a global pandemic people want information.”

It comes as Mr MacSharry also said that Fianna Fáil had "no leadership and not even management" at present at the party’s zoom teleconference meeting yesterday.

He criticised power dynamics within the party, saying that members were expected to be “empty vessels eager to learn from the master”.

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