Fianna Fáil Internal Report: Lack of Identity, Position on Abortion and Social Media Blamed for Bad General Election


An internal report accuses Fianna Fáil of failing to clearly identify Fine Gael for the poor result of the party’s general elections.

he stance on abortion, the manifesto, poor social media and lack of connectivity in urban areas also contributed to the poor results.

The late appointment of an electoral officer is also criticized in the review of the party’s performance.

TDs and Fianna Fáil senators will discuss tomorrow’s long delayed exam with Taoiseach Micheál Martin who is expected to be criticized.

The opening day of the party’s reflection in Co Cavan will be dominated by the post-mortem on the 2020 election.

Fianna Fáil were expected to win last year, but ended up losing seven seats as support fell 2%.

The report says young people and women need to be targeted and promoted within the party.

An overhaul of the organization of Fianna Fáil is recommended now to prepare for the next elections.

The tour of the leaders in the country, communications, policies and the selection of candidates are all in the crosshairs.

Results in individual constituencies are examined, including where TDs lost seats.

There is also a reference to controversies involving the party leadership, which seems to point to the Votegate scandal, where two TDs had to resign from first place.

Mainly, the party has failed to have a separate identity due to the trust and supply agreement supporting the independent Fine Gael government over the previous four years. The arrangement left Fianna Fail without a separate offer to voters that was entirely separate from the outgoing government.

The party’s impact on social media was low, despite spending more than other parties on internet advertising.

The report states that there was no adequate consultation with the parliamentary party on the manifesto.

Fianna Fáil’s position on the abortion referendum in 2018 is also identified as posing a problem for the party. Mr Martin allowed MPs to vote according to their conscience, but a majority of MPs and senators publicly opposed the repeal of the Eighth Amendment.

The report also dates back to local and European elections. He indicated that the candidate selection process was not suited to the objective of the European elections.

Junior Minister Seán Fleming chaired the election review. He will present his findings and recommendations to his party colleagues at the Slieve Russell Hotel this afternoon.

Fianna Fáil’s TDs, led by sacked former minister Barry Cowen, have called for the long-awaited report to be discussed. The meeting is expected to see criticism of Mr Martin and an argument over what will happen next.

The Taoiseach will have to respond to the report and present its own proposals.

The review also includes a survey of grassroots members on their views on the future of the party, its identity and internal structures.

Fianna Fáil was caught off guard by the early parliamentary elections called in January 2020. Dara Calleary, then deputy party leader, was appointed chief electoral officer almost a week after the campaign began. The report says an electoral officer should be in place much sooner, along with a national electoral committee to oversee candidate selection and campaign strategy.

The results of the elections come nearly 19 months after the vote on February 8, 2020.


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