Fianna Fáil TD says ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ remarks made by Tánaiste Micheál Martin were ‘inappropriate’

James O’Connor will meet Mr Martin on Thursday to discuss the comments

Cork East TD James O’Connor has said that ‘Jekyll and Hyde” references made by Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, which allegedly referred to him, were “inappropriate”.

Mr O’Connor has maintained that the remarks made by the Tánaiste at last week’s Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting referred to him.

Sources close to the Tánaiste have said that the remarks attributed to Mr Martin were not directly made about the 25-year-old deputy.

However, Mr O’Connor is adamant that the reference to a Jekyll and Hyde character with moods changing on a daily basis were directed at him.


“I think the comments were inappropriate for Mr Martin to make, and were not in keeping with his position as Tánaiste, and as a former Taoiseach,” he said.

Mr O’Connor and Mr Martin will meet on Thursday to discuss the matter and also a range of constituency issues which the Cork East TD is aggrieved have not been progressed.

Mr O’Connor is the youngest member of the Dáil but has been critical of the Government on occasion since his election, particularly over what he sees as its failure to deliver on commitment to his constituency. He has claimed he has been “misled” in relation to some promises.

Mr Martin was reported as telling the meeting that Mr O’Connor will praise his leadership one day and then criticise it the next, in relation to an issue on which the Tánaiste has not been put on notice.

Mr O’Connor says he will not seek an apology or a clarification from Mr Martin on Thursday but will be looking for reassurances in relation to Cork East. In particular, he has sought progress on a bypass for Castlemartyr and also for DEIS school status for more schools in Youghal, as well as a family resource centre for the east Cork town.

He said that individual Government Ministers have committed to what he said were “good projects” for his constituency, including Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, and Jack Chambers when he was Minister of State for Sport.

However, he is concerned that Fianna Fáil is not connecting with his generation of voters. “The standing of the party is such that only 8 per cent of voters under the age of 45 are prepared to vote for us. There is no defence for that. We need to begin responding to the needs of younger voters.

“For example, in housing a lot of younger families are trapped. They are trying to save for a €50,000 deposit while paying high rent and raising children. It’s impossible.

“The Government should introduce a new tax credit that would double the value of the first time buyer grant for households who have children to help to get them out of that difficult situation.”

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times