Fianna Fáil Limerick mayoral candidate who criticised Micheál Martin says her views have ‘evolved’

Dee Ryan, who questioned the Tánaiste’s leadership on social media in 2016 and 2017, says her view of him now ‘could not be more positive’

Fianna Fáil’s candidate to become the first directly elected mayor of Limerick has insisted her view of Micheál Martin “could not be more positive” after the emergence of old social media posts where she criticised him and the party.

Dee Ryan said she was previously a member of other political parties but “my opinions have been my own and I’ve no difficulty in saying that they have evolved”.

Mr Martin and Limerick TDs Minister of State Niall Collins TD and Willie O’Dea were on hand when Ms Ryan was named as Fianna Fáil’s candidate for June’s election last Monday.

Ms Ryan was the chief executive of Limerick Chamber for six years.


She announced her resignation from the role this week as she embarks on her election campaign although she will remain in place during a four-week transition period.

The Ditch website reported on Tuesday that Ms Ryan had previously criticised Fianna Fáil and Mr Martin on Twitter, now called X, in posts that were published several years ago.

In one post during a 2016 election debate she said that then Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny “had facts & figures at fingertips” and was a “#rockofsense”. She added in the post: “M. Martin sooo #notaleader”.

She also shared Fine Gael posts in 2016 that criticised Fianna Fáil over the fallout from the 2008 economic crash.

In a 2017 post she wrote that Fianna Fáil TD Barry Cowen was “criticising Govt work cleaning up #fiannafail mess” saying it is “easier to criticise than find solutions” and “opp [opposition] suits FF”.

Ms Ryan was a member of Fine Gael at the time of the social media posts.

In a statement on Wednesday Ms Ryan said: “My opinion of Fianna Fáil and Tánaiste Micheál Martin, particularly through his leadership, today could not be more positive.

“I’ve been very impressed by his and the party’s strong leadership since re-entering Government four years ago, not least in guiding the country through the challenging pandemic.”

She added: “When it came to my candidacy for mayor I felt Fianna Fáil with party values of fairness and equity, was the best fit for me.”

Ms Ryan also said: “As Taoiseach and now Tánaiste, Micheál Martin has presided over a Government that not alone maintained economic stability but returned the country to remarkable growth, albeit with much still to do and, moreover, with an appetite to do it.”

She said: “I am passionate about politics and have been for many years and I’ve been a member of other political parties, but my opinions have been my own and I’ve no difficulty in saying that they have evolved.”

Ms Ryan added: “I remain unafraid to speak my mind and if the people of Limerick choose to do me the honour of electing me as their Mayor, I can assure them that I will be a strong voice in pursuit of our shared agenda to make Limerick a better place for all its citizens.”

Separately Social Democrats councillor Elisa O’Donovan announced on Wednesday that she will be her party’s candidate in the mayoral election.

She said: “I am hugely ambitious for Limerick and its future. I know that, with the right leadership, Limerick can thrive and become the best place in Ireland to live.”

Other candidates already in the field include former Department of Finance secretary general John Moran and Green Party TD Brian Leddin.

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times