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Doubts Jim O’Callaghan says FF 'will have to think about' if Taoiseach should lead party into next election

He also said that the party needs to be more “radical” in dealing with the housing crisis

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Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan said that the party “will have to think about” if the Taoiseach should lead the party into the next general election.

He also said that the party needs to be more “radical” in dealing with the housing crisis.

When asked if Micheál Martin should lead the party into the next general election if it takes places in 2024 or 2025, Fianna Fáil’s director of elections Jim O’Callaghan said: “We’ll have to think about that.”

He also said that the party does not understand the scale of the housing problem and that unless there is progress made on resolving the housing crisis, the party will see “similar results”.

“The public do not see how we are relevant in this election.

“Unless the public see Fianna Fáil in Government having made progress on the housing issue, by the time the next general election comes, we will be facing similar results, I regret to say.

“I think we need to be much more radical in how we propose to deal with issues such as the housing crisis.”

He said that Cllr Deirdre Conroy not reaching 5pc first preference votes is “extremely disappointing” and he said that Micheál Martin and parliamentary party colleagues are “disappointed” too.

The backbench TD, who acted as the party’s Director of Elections for the by election and ran the by election campaign and is believed to be a likely candidate in the contest for party leadership, said that he is worried about his own seat.

“At the next general election, if I get 5pc, I will lose my seat.”

“I would have thought there would be alarm bells ringing in the heads of most Fianna Fáil TDs in Dublin. Although this is extremely disappointing and beyond what we thought what was going to happen, there has been an awareness in Fianna Fáil since the last general election that the party has been declining nationally and in Dublin.”

When asked if the party ran the best candidate, he said: “The reason why I commend Deirdre is that she was prepared to run.

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“I’m not trying to suggest that Deirdre was the only candidate available, but in fact, at the convention, Deirdre was the only one that put her name forward and she deserves to be commended for that.

“No-one else was available. I don’t mean that in any dismissive way to Deirdre,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said that the Government is on “borrowed time” following today’s by election result.

She said that her party is “looking forward” to a general election, “the sooner the better”.

“I think the Government has been given a very strong message for this constituency. I think they’re on borrowed time, I think in the first instance, they came together on an agenda of excluding change and excluding us in particular. I think that has been the hallmark of this administration.”

“The Sinn Féin vote remained solid and strong and in many of our core areas, we grew the vote. We’ll work on that and we’ll keep tipping away and we look forward to fighting a general election, the real deal, the sooner, the better,” she said at the RDS.

She said that in the “leafiest of the leafy” suburbs in the constituency, people know that the Government is “failing on housing”.

When asked why Sinn Féin did not increase its core vote into “leafy suburbs”, Ms McDonald said that this is because voters in Dublin Bay South decided to go with Labour’s Ivana Bacik early on.

“It is a very exceptionally affluent constituency and I think the voters who know their own minds better than I do, took the decision fairly early in the campaign that Ivana, in this contest, was the person that could stop Fine Gael.”

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