Hi! It's been a disappointing few years for Fianna Fáil but the party appears to be turning a corner and consolidating it's position as the lead opposition party in the opinion polls after being heavily (and unfairly) punished in the last GE by the electorate for having to take the really tough decisions to put the country back on track.
Indeed the agreement at the recent EU summit is being milked for all it's worth by the FG/Lab axis when in fact it was Fianna Fáil that started the whole process off. Mary O'Rourke got it spot on on TV3 a few nights ago when she said they were hiding behind the achievements of FF. But never mind. Alot of the old guard who have given such tremendous service to the country in government and as ministers (Noel Ahern, Dermot Ahern, Noel Dempsey, Conor Lenihan, Sean Haughey etc etc) have left the party. So I guess it's all about rebuilding from the grass roots up and bringing in new younger generation for the future (important because FF may well lead the next government or the one after that). I think in the last election we saw a good few new faces elected. Which is good. But the party also needs a new narrative. Preferably one that puts out the truth about the difficulties the country faced in 2008 as a result of feckless lending by banks and feckless borrowing by consumers and how the party set about making needed but deeply unpopular decisions in the interests of the country. That whole period needs to be amplified by an aggressive PR campaign IMO to get the message out there. (Also important to mention the steps the party took to tackle corruption)
Secondly I think Michael Martin is absolutely the right man to lead the party in to the next government. He was excellent as a minister, particularly in the Dept of Health, and he has the experience of negotiation with our EU partners from his time in Foreign Affairs. He is an inspirational speaker in the Dáil - i'd argue Enda is not fit enough to polish his shoes, and never mind Gerry Adams - and he has done really well to get the party back on an even keel with the public as recent opinion polls show. I hope it's him on the steps of the GPO in 2016 celebrating when sovereignty has been restored.
Just on that do you think Michael Martin is the man the party needs at the top going forward?
And finally I don't recommend a name change as such but maybe extra resonance can be gained with the public by sticking the word "nua" after Fianna Fáil. "New Soldiers of Destiny"
Do you agree? What else can Fianna Fáil do to re engage with the ordinary voters?