A Stroke Too Far: And the Greens Said No!

We now have an election date, the 11th, of March 2011!

We did not have that at midnight last night or did we have it at 8 AM this morning. Cowen had no intention whatsoever of going to the country until  well post St Patricks Day. He had no choice, however this is window dressed and whatever spin is placed on it by Fianna Fail there is or can be no doubt as to what happened.

The Greens and not Fianna Fail dictated when and at most FF were allowed choose only the actual day of the week!

Cowen came out fighting in the leadership challenge and once again got one more chance from the parliamentary party when he got a two to one vote conformation of his position. That out of the way, he began the process of preparing the party for the election by putting up new faces, even if it was seen by dispassionate observers as a ‘changing deck chairs on the Titanic’ exercise.

The ‘Big Idea’ was to immediately replace all his retiring Ministers with others who would begin distancing themselves from the actions of previous Ministers in the same office where necessary. New faces where possible would be presented to the public and a Ministerial car in judicially used in a borderline constituency could save a Fianna Fail seat.

There is a disconnect not alone between the Fianna Fail Government members and the public, there is also one between the Fianna Fail government and it’s own backbenchers. Some were horrified at the idea. One was quoted in RTE news as having said to a reporter:

“Whatever chance I have of being re-elected in my constituency as a humble TD, I would be stoned if I turned up in a Ministerial car!”

In a news management and spin exercise Fianna Fail press office began announcing Ministerial resignations after the six oc news yesterday evening, some announcements even came after the nine oc news. Vintage FF. The new Ministers were designated by the kitchen cabinet and the process of contacting these began this morning.

It is now apparent that the word had got around the backbenchers and those with political savvy and a good survival instincts had their phones switched  off and were not to be found!

At some stage this morning when contact was made with the Greens, in usual Fianna Fail style, they were not asked about the new Ministerial appointments, they were told of it as a fait accomplai. It was the Taoiseach’s prerogative to appoint Ministers etc.

Fine in normal times. However these are not normal times and the Greens are jittery and have been since the budget. They at least are keyed into the public mood. What was good for Fianna Fail and the party was not good for Governance and the Country, and most definitely for the Greens and how they would have been perceived.

The Greens said No!

This time it is clear and transparent: Fianna Fail Ministers and Senior Party TD are openly admitting what happened. The Greens were not in the Dail when Brian Cowen made his ‘climb down’ announcement. They were still in conclave at the end or the RTE news special at two o’clock.

The Greens have learned a few lessons from their association with FF, they like the FF backbenchers know when to make themselves scarce and keep the head down. Being ‘in a meeting’ covers a multitude of sins; it was far easier to hole up in some room, watch what was happening in the Dail on TV and then formulate the best possible response over an uninterrupted coffee and biscuits, perhaps even a leisurely meal.

The contrast between the ellubent Brian Cowen of yesterday playing to the gallery, slagging off the opposition and leading the hilarity of the Fianna Fail benches could not be greater when contrasted with to-days persona of annoyance, anger and sulks. Anyone doubt to-day that Micheal Martin called it right ?

To quote a political commentator on RTE

This is political theatre, no it is not theatre, it is pantomime !

The Greens will have the day to assess all the news and Dail reaction. They will probably emerge in time for the evening news in a collective, coherent, composed group. John will do his ‘ for the good of the Nation bit’ in a grave Statesmanlike voice and take credit for halting the Fianna Fail stroke, much as it pained him to do it. They will also claim credit for having set the election day date… and will be believed.

Fianna Fail are in a shambles and now the recriminations will really start. Cowen has no credibility. the ‘half government’ left in most cases were disasters in their existing departments and now they are to take on other Ministries as well as their own? The press will have a field day with that!

This was to be the start of the fight back, the turn around, Instead it has been an own goal, a monumental disaster for Brian Cowen and the Fianna Fail party Seniors. For the backbenchers and the rank and file on the ground, it is ‘the straw that broke the camel’s back’

Lenihan’s brother has just called for Cowens resignation as “quick decisive action was needed from the Senior party members” and this is but the start of the open  infighting and disintegration.

Noel Whelan is correct when he said  that there is no floor under how far Fianna Fail can fall. Just wait until when how to-day’s Cowen blunder  played out in the States and other foreign media is fed back here in time for the Sunday papers.

Fianna Fail’s election run will start with a political crucifixion and this time there will be no resurrection!

All FF supporters have been there when supporting their own county teams GAA Teams, this is the point of where  all but the hard core of the supporters loosing team are streaming towards the gate. Even though there is still a quarter of an hour left, such is the inevitability and scale of the defeat that what is happening on the pitch no longer matters.

I am now listening to the Greens press conference live on TV.

1)  Gormley, Boyle and Ryan told Cowen yesterday afternoon that they did not think that new ministers was a good idea

2)  Gormerly only heard of the new appointments going ahead on this mornings 7-am news.

3)  They had a Green Party meeting at 9.30 this morning and in the aftermath again told the Brian Cowen that it was not on and the rest flowed from at least two meetings between Cowen and the Greens.

It is a shambles, a disaster, a monumental blunder or what ever other such term can be applied for Fianna Fail. To continue the crucifixion anthology, to-morrow will see the scourging of Fianna Fail at the press pillar, that will continue through to the Sundays and then there the remaining forty-seven slow painful days to Calvary with more than the original three falls guaranteed !

  • Garza

    Not even our lot on the hill can compete with this sort of bumble***k. Unbelievable, surely it is the end of FF as a party.


    Our folks on the hill dont have to worry about forming a normal coalition. Aftet RoI election, there will be a new government. After the NI election, we will still have the same. Anyway, about FF, will their erstwhile suppory switch to other parties or abstain? My money is on FF rallying and being the biggest party. In 3-4 years time, they’ll be back. FG still have too much of that west brit patrician air about them fir the nation to take them into their hearts. FF will be kicked and made stand on the naughtu step for a while but they r still the country’s boys and girls

  • Munsterview


    We have a very financially well heeled financial sector here. A minority but the FF top elites were the facilitators of this. Once this sector see FF failing to protect the conditions of their free wheeling capitalism, they will midwife a PD mark 2 or whatever. That will leave the FF gutted and purposeless, drained of finance and perks.

    FF have long years in the wilderness ahead. Personally I cannot see them ever again having the influence in of being the force in Irish politics that they had for so long.

    Political Parties do not have a God Given Right to be a majority, they sometimes crash and fail as in Canada. Fianna Fail may well have reached this point.


    Yes but the Canadian tories were back in power within a decade of lowering to 2 seats. MV Are you honestly saying the FF big beast is cooked ? Ok, if so, who will be the main opposition to a FG/Lab government? SF?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick, you’re playing Russian roulette with Slugger’s reputation by allowing these rambly, long, speculative and opinionated waffly contributions to be passed off as some sort of journalism. The poster couldn’t even be bothered to proof read it.

  • Agreed Comrade.

    We have a very financially well heeled financial sector here.

    Is that so. With or without your Brit loans?

  • Greenflag

    GUBU time again :(.

    There may yet be a move to dump Cowan as leader before election day on the basis that the result could scarcely be worse under a new leader. Perhaps after a few days reflection Mr Cowan will do the only thing he can do now for the sake of the party and hand over the reins .

    Can’t see him at this stage leading the party into this election . No doubt before the week is out Tuesday’s vote of confidence will have the same ring of authenticity as the Treaty Limerick ;)?

    And yet I’m not at all elated by the prospect of an FG /Labour Coalition but that’s what we’ll have no doubt .

  • pippakin


    Surely its a poisoned chalice? Better for Mr Cowen to go through the motions and allow FF to pick up the pieces afterward?

  • Greenflag

    Indeed it is, but as things stand given today’s events and those earlier in the week and indeed over the past year or more -the party seriously runs the risk of there being no pieces to pick up -afterward -or so few that it’ll hardly matter .

    The ‘result ‘ difference between going to face the electorate under Mr Cowan or another leader could be 5 or 6 seats held as opposed to lost imo. That’s a significant number when a political party is looking at maybe 30 to 40 seats or even less.

    I think Mr Cowan will receive the message loud and clear by this time next week . If he stays FG and Labour and SF will have a ‘field ‘ day come March 11 .

  • Rory Carr

    Am I wrong or would it not be that, while the six resigning ministers (whom I understand are in any case retiring as TD’s) will benefit from receipt of the enhanced pension that a former minister receives, so too will the six new ministerial appointees when in due course they also retire (or are retired) and that such enhanced pension is due whether they will have been in ministerial office for six years, six months, six weeks or six days ?

    A matter of, ‘Cheers ! ‘ and large ones all round I’m thinking.

  • Mick Fealty

    CS, duly noted!

  • Rory Carr

    Even more intriguing news from Westminster tonight – it appears that Shadow Chancellor, Alan Johnston has resigned for “pressing family reasons”. Ed Balls is to replace Johnston and Balls’s wife, Yvette Cooper goes to the Home Office. Nothing more to add at this stage.

  • pippakin

    Rory Carr

    Guido Fawkes twittered that Mr Johnsons problems might be distinctly personal. As for the balls well…

    Interesting on VB tonight. The fur is flying Conor Lenihan is frothing with rage!

  • Munsterview

    CS : away since 7.30pm, yesterday evening, just in and not in a position to respond sooner.

    Can you point to one reference in that article that is not factual or where I have departed from the record to stray into the personal or party polemic ?

    I was at my desk to-day, all day and what is bloged was taken from the 12.30 to 2pm RTE news coverage and from the Greens 4.45 p.m. live press conference. Anything you take issue with in this blog, I will be able to verify from some other source in to-days papers.

    The airwaves have been filled with terms such as shambles, blunders, disaster, farce, pantomine etc to describe what the political commentators thought of Fianna Fail, the Greens and the developing situation.

    Yes it is a long blog but it has been a long day in Southern politics since Morning Ireland at 7am set the ball rolling for the Greens!

    This is not about the length of the blog, the content or literary criticism per se. You, your good friend Turgon, Alias and a few more such like souls would much prefer if slugger was Munsterview blog and post free zone! This is but more of the usual sniping.

    I have got that message loud and clear! However the last time I checked it was Mick Fealty’s site not yours. You like me are but a guest and contributer on it. There is however this difference in our respective situations, I would like to think that I show a bit more tolerance and accommodation for views that are different to mine.

    The sincerity or otherwise of your objections are for others to judge, but as far as I am concerned your pettiness speaks for itself and is no more than a careful and camouflaged version of the ‘Maskyism’ that I have been regularly subjected to from certain quarters since coming on this site. However as far as that goes, water off a duck’s back etc.!

  • Munsterview

    st etienne : please read my post to CS it will save duplication.

    I already posted the following in other threads to illustrate the sort of madness that prevailed down here.


    Whatever of this ‘flash in the pan’ wealth there is plenty Old Money intact in this Island such as controlled by the Hamilton families North and South of the Border. Likewise fortunes build up from the 19th, century onwards. However this is straying into the realm of actual politics, apologies for taxing your capacity !

  • Munsterview

    CS : I see your friend Turgon has delivered a 130 line or so blog on Tom’s leadership and UUP party matters up ahead on another thread, some 40% more than my 90 or so modest ( by comparison) lines on this blog.

    Presumably as it is your friend, Turgons and it is about the all consuming subject of Unionist politics your concerns about …….

    ” playing Russian roulette with Slugger’s reputation by allowing these rambly, long, speculative and opinionated waffly contributions to be passed off as some sort of journalism….. ”

    do not apply ?

    Thought so!

    Apparently in some quarters what is sauce for the Unionist goose is still not sauce for the Nationalist Gander ?

    Nice to see what a self declared Alliance supporter really thinks about equality, respect and parity of esteem. I hope Nationalist voters up there are taking note!

  • aquifer

    Bumbling Biffo hunbled by hippies. Whatever next.

  • Comrade Stalin


    Your description of Turgon as a “friend” is I guess yet another example of embarassing yourself by throwing complete rubbish out there and passing it off as truth. I expect Turgon will be as amused by that idea as I am.

    Can you point to one reference in that article that is not factual or where I have departed from the record to stray into the personal or party polemic ?

    Yes I can. Here are a few :

    The ‘Big Idea’ was to immediately replace all his retiring Ministers with others who would begin distancing themselves from the actions of previous Ministers in the same office where necessary.


    The new Ministers were designated by the kitchen cabinet and the process of contacting these began this morning.


    Cowen had no intention whatsoever of going to the country until well post St Patricks Day.

    Speculation. Are you psychic ?

    You’re passing off speculation as fact. You haven’t provided a single link or source to any of the claims you made.

    Secondly there are too many exclamation marks. This gives the impression that the author is a crazed lunatic. The breezy conversational style doesn’t work for articles like this. Padding out sentences with stuff like “It is a shambles, a disaster, a monumental blunder or what ever other such term can be applied ” makes the article extremely boring and very difficult to read.

    At the end of the day I guess most of us read Slugger to find out opinions that are interesting or slightly different, or find nuggets in the news that might have passed unnoticed. All you’ve done is repeat all the headlines and pad them out with speculation and opinions of your own. Yes, you think Fianna Fail are bastards. We get it.

  • As I have been sneeringly referred to above, please allow me to make a few apparently tangential points.
    This should be a fast moving story: lots of resignations, followed by a General Election call. The politics.ie site has threads galore about it. They get a lot of hits and so the pace can be too quick for analysis: more Twitter than the NYT if you will.
    As this site gets considerably less hits, it should be going for quality over quantity. Threads and comments should be of a high standard to compensate for the comparative dearth of traffic.
    Interestingly enough the politics.ie site corrals discussion on the six cos as they regard it as too anarchic a subject. This site however concentrates on the 6 cos, which we can see as a divisive centre to which the Irish election is marginal.
    Readers can decide for themselves how valuable a particular thread such posted by an apparently very well connected SF supporter as this is. It seems fair enough to attack Fianna Fail, as in this thread. But to attack Sinn Fein or to point to their short comings as I did with Conor Murphy is to invite a ban via an unanswerable email to one’s spam box.
    Perhaps that is the way things should be and perhaps we should worship Baal. In comparing sites, however, one thinks of the happy medium between heavy traffic and informed comment. One doubts that this site has that balance worked out to perfection. This site has several bells and whistles built to help in grading comments. Let us hope it gets the traffic to make those accessories worthwhile. If not, let us hope it gets informed comment to compensate. Oremus.
    (one wonders what colour card for that.)

  • Munsterview

    Focused, coherent, reasoned, none of the ‘old duffer’ or contrarian old codger act in the above.

    Proof, if proof were needed that the ‘post persona’ I took issue with was, as I contended, nothing other than an anti Republican / Nationalist, disinformation, propaganda ploy !

    CS : at some stage to-day when I have had time to go through the papers I will take up your points.

    For the record, as I did not have time to waste I contacted Mick yesterday morning and asked if he was doing something himself on the political situation as it was developing, as if he was I would not do so. Mick requested me to do it and at that stage I told him that I would take it directly from the RTE radio broadcasts as the story developed.

    We briefly discussed and agreed the general orentation of the proposed blog.

    It is a measure of the accuracy of the substantive matters of the article that when the Greens gave their conference I gave the main points as a post script and I did not have to alter one line of what I had already written.

    Connor Lenihan, Minister for State has just described what happened yesterday ( ref. RTE radio, P Kenny 10.39am. OK?) show with Cowen as “leaving his party shellshocked” and going around Leinster House ” as if they had been involved in a car crash ”

    Connor Lenihan also said, quote ” I place no place no blame whatsoever on John Gormlery or the Greens for what happened ” He has also called on Brian Cowen to go for the good of the country and the party.

    Another quote ” we are a party that could easily disappear from the political landscape after the next election ”

    CS : “Yes, you think Fianna Fail are bastards. We get it……”

    Very obviously you most definitely do not. While confronting FF as a party and all their works, I have also been at careful to detail the work and positive contribution their members make at rank and file level in social, cultural and sporting matters. Indeed in many communities they are the backbone of such activities and such activities would either not take place or be severely curtailed without FF rank and file participation and ability.

    I have cousins and friends right through the party at all levels, at least one will be a candidate for in the forecoming election. The cultural function I attended last night was probably 40% FF party or supporters, some of whom I had a few interesting exchanges with about the current situation.

  • Munsterview,
    Thanks for the blog. I, for one, found it entertaining and informative.

    Ignore the ad hominem attacks. Just the well-worn and entirely useless strategy of shooting the messenger when you don’t like the message. Fortunately, it’s only metaphorical shooting in these more enlightened days!

  • Munsterview

    Democrat : Buiochas…. thanks!

    To-days Indo Newspaper main banner headline………. A STROKE TOO FAR.

    For every line of mine, the mainstream media as, I predicted last night, has at least ten echoing the same thing from an assortment of writers. It is a waste of time and energy to quote them here, I will take my own frequent advice to Moochin… ‘ F the begrudgers’ !

    However least anyone think that this is coming from anger perish the thought, it is based on benevolence and tolerance. While a Catholic, never less I know my way around the good books of other Faiths also.

    Rather than get into another Maskey exchange, I will bear in mind the Buddhist injunction that says ……..

    ” One should not attempt to teach wisdom to a pig, it frustrates the animal and annoys the Master ” !

    I have now gone into Zen mode and will stay in that zone for the rest of my blog articles and responses.

  • wee buns

    A remarkable day in southern politics and important to see it blogged on Slugger.
    Really surprised given the significance of events, how (1) few comments (2) the disengaged and irrelevant nature of some comments.

  • Greenflag

    @wee bun

    Remarkable is an understatement . I think many people are in a ‘state of shock’ not least FF voters and supporters and of course some of the ultra anti FF voices are having a field day.

    When the old Unionist Party in NI started it’s long decline back in the 1960’s it began as a series of splits with NIUP, UUUC,DUP until eventually the former ‘monolithic’ UP’s constituency is now served by the DUP/UUP/AP /PUP .
    A similar electoral change replaced the old Nationalist Party with the SDLP and then they too were bypassed by SF .

    But the above was a 30 year process and to some extent is still ongoing .

    What seems to be happening in the Republic is a very much ‘speeded up’ version of the above with FF facing a very uncertain future after this election .

    I can’t imagine the British Tory or Labour parties ‘imploding’ in a similar manner . The ‘infighting’ between FF candidates within constituencies always a factor will now become even more divisive as TD’s struggle to hold onto seats that three years ago looked like ‘family ‘ inheritances .

    There is now even talk that FF may not win a single seat in the Dublin constituencies .

    But despite all of the above and despite the fact that there will be an FG/LAB coalition -the electorate are more than a little sceptical of the capabilities of the ‘alternative’ government .

    There is a widespread belief that they will as someone else pointed out earlier on slugger be just another pair of wrists on which the shackles of ‘anarchic ‘ capitalism will be clasped for the next several years .

    The RC Church has lost the confidence of the people . The Banks have lost the confidence of the people . FF has lost the confidence of the people .

    The ‘wurrld is in a state of chassis ‘ as O’Casey’s -Joxer Daly once remarked -and those at the top of the political and economic pyramids in Ireland -the UK -USA and elsewhere don’t appear to have the answers bar a few ideologues among the barking neo conservatives .

  • Munsterview

    Press Conference under way : Brian Cowen has confirmed that he is stepping down as Fianna Fail leader but is remaining on as Taoiseach and head of Government. The press conference was called at short notice and his decision to step down was taken apparently only after noon to-day.

    He says that re reflected on the situation with his family last night and decided to day.

  • Munsterview

    From the conference……

    He said that he did not consult with any senior colleagues on his decision in the last night.

    Did he discuss his decision with Greens ? He phoned John Gormerly twenty minutes before the conference and informed him out of curtsey.

    Q : In view of he saying that you could not have a different FF leader and Taoiseach is not this cynical
    A : No etc and waffle.

    Q Is the party not now seriously damaged ?

    A: No not at all united party moving forward together etc.

    Q Do you accept that it was the six minister appoint fiasco that caused the downfall ?
    A : no it was his duty to but good team on the Front Bench etc.

    Q : Did you but country over party and person knowing like John Hume that it would finish you politically.
    A : You have to do the right thing in office, he always did etc, Took right financial policies, had to cut back. Should keep away from personality and circus politics.

    Q : Do you have a natural successor and are you apologizing for damage done to Taoiseach office past week
    A : No choice, will row in behind the elected leader whoever that is. He is accepting responsibility for damage. Fianna Fail party putting arrangements in place for election of leader.
    Questions over…

    Analysis : Noel Wheelan last Dail day was tipping point, he knew that the party had to unite and what was needed.

    RTE Political Corr. All went horribly in the botched reshuffle and attempted appoint of ministers. Greens attitude ? They will probably hang in there and get bills passed. All the attention will be on new FF leader for coming election and not Cowen. Micheal Martin probably unbeatable ?

    Noel : Contest Micheal ahead. Lenihan, Mary Hannifin and Dev og in there. Dev dark horse. Block of Cowen loyalist votes will be decisive in outcome.

    Break : returning to part two.

  • Munsterview

    RTE News special live analysis continuing…….

    Sean Fleming TD, Cowens FF Const Coll. He has been a loyal party man, but country first ant great personal cost. Came in a difficult time

    RTE seems extradionary that he had it all a week ago and threw it all away

    Sean All the instability greens fault. RTE will he run again Sean yes probably will and top poll. but he will reflect. RTE who is he supporting Sean will not say, party needs to reflect.

    RTE Fine Gael putting down motion of no confidence on Taoiseach. Labour has motion of no conference on Government.

    Power Limerick TD has declared for Martin, Ned O Keeffe has declared for Martin.

    John Curran chief whip only informed in late morning. J. surprised at announcement. Rumblings causing trouble. RTE Procedures for election ? J putting arrangements in place and there will be contest.

    Power, Min of State Limerick RTE were you surprised. Power no he put the country first etc. Power is backing Martin, man of the moment etc. RTE, MM has only one third of vote, can he do it. Power Vision thing MM has it. RTE McGrath has declared for MM.

    RTE break.

  • Munsterview

    RTE News special live analysis continuing…….

    Val the fine Gael Valkyrie and Labour Sen White in studio : back to talking heads….

    . Like Tatcher in her last day at the Dispatch Box, they are already making Brian look good.

    FF elections : Nominations close at noon Monday, Vote on Wednesday. Haughty, Arda and Andrews declaring for MM. Charlie O’Connor TD not declaring. He wants national election immediately. Caoimhin SF There is a crisis of democracy: critical decisions taken outside government. Taoiseach have demonstrated inaptness. RTE is SF not doing this in Stormount : SF difference situation. Timmy Dooley Clare, John ODonoghue also declared for Micheal

  • pippakin


    Looks like you have your wish. I hope Martin gets it. He put his head above the parapet and took the risk. Already FF are sounding more cheerful. I never thought the FF vote had dropped as far as the polls suggested and it will probably improve quite a bit now.

    Just a general thing. All this talk of extraordinary is just a touch over done I think. Italy is basking in its own, arguably worse problem, Greece and others have shown us all how not to, and here we are doing the democratic thing, there is something admirable in that.

  • Munsterview

    RTE should there be contest ? CO’C hopes there will be a strong leader. Minster Mansera. Not surprised, came close to resigning in November and again two weeks ago. Mis Judgement to have tried to appoint so many Ministers. Events went far too fast. Noel Flynn declare for MM, on canvass trail, people upset. Brian rushed things to appoint loyalist. RTE will it make a difference with electorate ? Noel backing MM, he has shown grit in a dignified way. N. favors contest.

    Mansra happy to see contest. SF wants election now……. Thats all folks!

  • Greenflag


    Overdone / Perhaps a little . Comparison with Italy is no comparison or Greece .The latter are hardly a generation on from a military dictatorship and Italy is used to changing governments almost as often as changing the annual calendar . As somebody said with about 98 political parties they still manage to elect Berlusconi as their leader :(.

    The age of Biffo, Bertie , Paisley , Blair and Brown has come to a definitive end .

    A new leader might be all that’s needed to turn a rout at the hustings to just a mere lambasting -from which a future recovery may be ennabled . I’m genuinely unsure . We could be for a a period of ‘Rassemblements’ along the French model when the centre right/left parties following electoral defeat -remerge i.e reassemble -under a new name .

    What that could be in the case of FF I don’t know but I suspect FF Nua would’nt cut it .

    Enda will make it to Taoiseach and Gilmore as Tanaiste but I’m unexcited for both of them -and SF will increase their representation . FF will be lucky to get 35 seats imo.

  • pippakin


    No comparison? Maybe but its worth reflecting that our own democracy is not yet a century old. Italy lurches from crisis to crisis each one is as short lived as this will be. Recriminations will last a year, two at most, then the new government will be held responsible.

    I cannot see Enda making a successful Taoiseach and that will help FF.

  • Munsterview

    Copy of Brian Cowens farewell message just send to the Fiianna Fail party and supporters……..


    It has been my honour to have served as Úachtarán Fhianna Fáil. In my last act as leader, I wanted to send a clear message to you, our members and supporters: Thank you.

    Thank you for your loyalty, for your hard work, and for your complete commitment to this movement.

    I love this country and this party. In my remaining time as Taoiseach, I will continue to work on government business and to implement the plan for recovery. I pledge my support to my successor as leader of Fianna Fáil in the task that he or she will undertake in the coming weeks and into the future.

    I know that you and I, along with all members of Fianna Fáil, will unite to work as hard as we can to support our leader and spread our message in the coming campaign. I know what we are capable of.

    This party and its members can rise to any challenge that faces us, when we muster the collective determination to do so. We have done so in the past and we can do so again.

    Once again, it has been an honour to lead Fianna Fáil. While times are difficult now, there are better days ahead, both for our party and our great nation.

    Thank you once again.