Averil Power quits Fianna Fail
One of the leading female politicians in Fianna Fail has quit the party, claiming it took a cynical and cowardly approach to the successful gay marriage vote.
Averil Power, a senator since 2011, revealed she has been repeatedly rebuffed by senior figures when trying to push for reform and accused them of being out of touch with ordinary people.
The loss of the outspoken figure will be a huge blow to leader Micheal Martin and shatter the feelgood factor he enjoyed after a by-election win at the weekend.
"I have become increasingly uncomfortable in a parliamentary party that is out of touch with the needs and concerns of ordinary people," she said.
"I stuck with it because, despite everything, I still believed I could help deliver change from within. I was encouraged by the support of like-minded members. And I thought things would improve over time.
"They haven't and I no longer believe they will."
Ms Power said she would remain on in the Seanad as an independent.
In a withering attack on the party and its leadership she said: "Fianna Fail lacks vision, courage and leadership.
"It doesn't know what it stands for and lacks credible policies on most major issues.
"It is afraid of taking clear positions in key debates for fear of losing support.
"And Micheal Martin has become a leader without any followers. His front bench are all pulling in different directions and prioritising their personal political success over the needs of the party and the country."