Martin gets behind his 'dynamic' trio
IF not on the crest of a political wave, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin is a little nearer the top than the bottom these days.
In Wexford to support his three candidates, Aoife Byrne, Malcolm Byrne and James Browne, Mr Martin described them as one of the youngest and most dynamic of Fianna Fail's election teams and predicted that his party would take two seats in Friday's election.
He wasn't saying which two of his candidates would get them, but Aoife Byrne's star has been rising over the last couple of weeks and perhaps a little Micheal magic was being sprinkled in her direction as she stood beside him and her running mates at the Talbot Hotel last Thursday.
'We have a very exciting team here in Wexford,' he said - a surprise may be in store on election day.
Commenting that all three were deeply rooted in the community, he reminded us that Aoife (the daughter of former FF Minister Hugh Byrne) is heavily involved in the Drama Festival and things creative, while Malcolm and James (the son of former FF Minister John Browne) were likewise involved in everything in their own patches.
Mr Martin was defiant when he asked if cherry-picked areas to visit and in which to knock on doorsteps, saying he, out of all the party leaders, had visited the most.
He said he visited all housing estates without fear or favour.
'I've knocked on more doors than any other party leader,' he said, stressing that he believed it was important for politicians to keep in touch with their grass roots between elections, 'you have to keep making contact'.
Mr Martin said there were a lot of lapsed members of Fianna Fail out there and a lot of don't knows. The re-emergent party hoped to make contact with the don't knows and re-connect with those who deserted it in the wake of the financial meltdown.
Asked on the fringe of the Press conference, whether he had a favoured bedmate in any possible future coalition, he refused to comment, saying: 'The press conference is over'.
Following the conference, Mr Martin briefly strode the streets of Wexford with Aoife Byrne, meeting and greeting, winning smiles and handshakes, complaints and compliments and in a couple of cases a turned cheek or two.
The last Fianna Fail leader to pound the streets of the town was Bertie Ahern, but that was a lifetime ago, in another world, the economy was (still) booking, the Celtic Tiger was roaring, Fianna Fail was on top - times were very different then.
Micheal Martin also met voters in Enniscorthy, New Ross and Gorey during his visit to the county on Thursday.