Cllr. Orla Leyden says she doesn’t know if she still has a political relationship with her party colleague, Senator Eugene Murphy – because “he broke it”.
Cllr. Leyden, who ran with then Deputy Murphy for Fianna Fáil in the 2020 General Election, says she “had to put the record straight” this week and hit back at her colleague’s repeated claims that the party’s decision to run two Roscommon-based candidates had cost him his Dáil seat.
When the Roscommon People contacted Senator Murphy on Wednesday, he said he has no intention of making any response to Cllr. Leyden’s comments.
Cllr. Leyden has also reiterated her view that Fianna Fáil should not have gone into coalition with Fine Gael. She says Micheál Martin should not lead Fianna Fáil into the next General Election, but should instead step down as leader once his term as Taoiseach ends in December 2022.
Cllr. Leyden issued a strongly worded rebuke of Senator Murphy this week. She was responding to comments made by Senator Murphy at the recent Fianna Fáil think-in in Cavan, which the former TD repeated in press statements issued to the Roscommon media last week.
Cllr. Leyden says she does not know if her political relationship with Senator Murphy is permanently damaged. “He broke it…I think I was being too polite for too long. I can’t work with someone who rewrites the past. I am not interested in drama, or in this being about me. Eugene plays the victim. His latest comments were too much, they were the last straw. I had to put the record straight this time”.
In her press statement, Cllr. Leyden says she received a phone call from Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin in January 2020 in which he asked her to run in the upcoming election. Cllr. Leyden says Mr. Martin was “desperate” for her to run, as internal party polls were showing that then Deputy Eugene Murphy would not retain the Dáil seat in the 2020 election.
Cllr. Leyden alleges that the Murphy camp made negative comments about her during the subsequent brief campaign, and that there was no effort to work as a team.
As to the future, she would like to see Micheál Martin replaced as leader.
“If I knew then what I know now I would not have run in the last election. I wanted a National Government and felt Fianna Fáil should talk to everyone. I was not comfortable with the decision to go into coalition with Fine Gael. Micheál Martin is not decisive enough. When his term as Taoiseach is up he should step down in the interests of the party”.
Asked if she will consider seeking a nomination to run for Fianna Fáil in the next General Election, Cllr. Leyden said she doesn’t know. “I am not ruling it in or out”.