As the prospect of securing a return to government recedes and the race for the succession gathers pace, the role of the Mount st insiders and where their loyalties lie could lead to a chaotic situation in FF headquarters.
In constituencies where the party has two or more outgoing TDs (TDs A, B and C) and if TD A for example is perceived to be a Michael Martin man but more of Lenihan’s people are in situ in key positions at the Mount st HQ they will work more to save TD B who seems to be more their guy at all costs. It will be bedlam at HQ as the factions try to safe their own. Those whose interest is in the wider party will be pushed roughly to one side as the .
This is just another danger arising from the failure to put to bed the question of the future leadership of the party prior to the general election at a time when we all know that the first business of Fianna Fail in opposition will be to oust Brian Cowen as a means to plot a return to government as quickly as feasible. With dozens of outgoing TDs likely to not return either through retirement or defeat at the polls along with a much reduced Seanad line up then every vote will be vital. The support of a mere dozen colleagues on the first ballot could allow someone to emerge up the middle as an interim unity candidate to ensure that the factions don’t do too much damage to the party in a leadership battle.
But with many of those at HQ likely tied to various contenders, the problem for FF is that in the view of some lackeys losing TD A and thus the seat entirely might be preferable to their return to the Dail if their support was to be for someone other than their man. With no one in FF HQ of the necessarily influence and gravitas within the broader party who has the interest of the entire party into the future as their sole priority, FF’s HQ manoeuvrings could end up throwing half a dozen savable seats overboard for the sake of the interests of the factions.