‘That’s The Fine Gael Line You’re Peddling’


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From top: RTÉ’s Áine Lawlor and Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin

Fine Gael Health Minister Leo Varadkar was interviewed on Morning Ireland today.

During the interview Mr Varadkar levelled criticism against Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin in relation to his time as Health Minister between 2000 to 2004.

Morning Ireland presenter Cathal MacCoille said Fianna Fáil was asked to come on the show, to respond to Mr Varadkar’s assertions, but the offer was turned down.

Further to this, Mr Martin spoke with Áine Lawlor on RTÉ’s News At One.

It got a bit… tetchy.

Áine Lawlor: “We’re joined now, from Galway, by the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin and good afternoon to you.”

Micheál Martin: “Good afternoon you, Áine.”

Lawlor: “On the latest figures, even if the Fine Gael/Fiann Fáil coalition would be short won in getting a majority, is a grand coalition looking like the only answer?”

Martin: “Áine what figures are those?

Lawlor: “The Red C poll.”

Martin: “But you know by… first of all, by the way, I thought I was coming on to respond to Leo Varadkar this morning.”

Lawlor: “I’m not, I’ll come to that in a moment…sorry, I..”

Talk over each other

Martin: “I’ve answered these questions ad nauseam. The bottom line is…”

Lawlor: “No, just to say, Micheal Martin, just to say Micheal Martin, the reason I asked you about the poll is because I wanted to talk about the general state of the play in the campaign first before…”

Martin: “I know…”

Lawlor: “…going into accusations that have been, we can deal with that first if you’d rather?”

Martin: “No, I’ve no problem with it at all. But, just to say to you that that was the basis upon which this interview was agreed, from my perspective. I’ve no difficulty in answering your question and I’ve answered it before. I think we need to be very careful in terms of the parameters by which we’re going to judge this election and, particularly, the opinion polls. I’ve said in the past that, in the United Kingdom for example, opinion polls were out by 6.5% and the problem with that was it dictated the type of debate that was held in Britain. In other words, the British people never got to discuss what the Tories would do to their health system, or would do to their social welfare and so on. So we need to be careful in Ireland that we don’t allow the polls to dominate this debate to the exclusion of issues and the kind of country we want and Fianna Fáil have been saying, from the outset, that there’s a choice between the Irish people, that Fianna Fáil, between a Fianna Fáil-led Government that would focus on fairness, on a fair break for the self-employed and for enterprise and for decency in society as a whole as opposed to a Fine Gael-led government which will and look after the wealthiest in our society. And then it’s up to the people to decide, in relation to that choice, I think we’ve succeeded in doing that during this campaign…”

Lawlor: “Absolutely. Which is why…”

Talk over each other

Lawlor: “… which is why I am putting this question to you because you’re pre-supposing that we will be able to put a Government together. But given what the polls are indicating, at this point in time, and given what you have said and what Enda Kenny has said about who, and who you will not, go in with. The question before voters in the run-up to next Friday is whether there is any government that can be put together given what you’re all saying at the moment. So that’s why I’m asking you the question: is a grand coalition the only viable option?

Martin: I don’t agree with your premise and I’ve said this time and time again. I don’t agree with that premise. I think your discussion, and all of the discussion, is on the basis that the election has happened, the election has not happened. In the local elections for example, of where we can take that basis, we would have been discussing Fianna Fail coming in on third place.”

Talk over each other

Lawlor: “No the question is based, Micheal Martin, on the fact that the people of this country elect a Dáil…”

Martin: “Aine I would appreciate if you would allow me answer the question please.”

Lawlor: “Yes, but..”

Talk over each other

Lawlor:The people of this country will elect a Dáil. That Dáil’s job is to elect a Government. If the people of this country don’t want to be Portugal, don’t want to be Spain, don’t want to be paying higher interest rates, do want to have an actual Government, I’m asking you when that Dáil is elected will you do your part in working with other politicians to put a Government together because, at the moment, a Government may not result after next Friday.”

Martin:That’s the Fine Gael line you’re peddling in terms of Portugal. The Irish people aren’t responsible for Portugal, Italy or anybody else. We know there are international issues that are determining the global situation, not least the volatility in China and the uncertain situation there and other issues. My point is and my point, repeatedly has been, that this election hasn’t even begun. And I do not accept that the opinion polls may be correct in terms of what will actually happen. And you can go through constituency polls which give a far different perspective, by the way, of seats, than the national polls. I have said over a week ago that we will, just as we have been in the last Dail, responsible in terms of looking after this country. For example…”

Lawlor: “So you will play your part in putting a Government together after the 26th?”

Martin:Aine, could I just make a comment to you? I listened to Leo Varadkar this morning. He didn’t have this aggressive intervening and interruption every time I’m trying to put a coherent paragraph together. And I would appreciate it if I was allowed the same space that Government ministers are repeatedly allowed on RTE programmes. I really would appreciate it.”

Lawlor: “Micheal Martin, I can only answer for the interviews I do…the reason..”

Martin: “But I just want to make the point to you that..”

Lawlor: “I appreciate that but, I also think that you’ve been rather unfair on that challenge that you’ve put down there, so let’s move on and talk about the question of Leo Varadkar and the allegations that he made against you…”

Listen back in full here


39 thoughts on “‘That’s The Fine Gael Line You’re Peddling’

  1. han solo's carbonite dream

    good man Micheál Martin.
    I’d like Donnelly as taoisech but Micheál Martin would be the best of the rest. Not sure on FF as a party myself but on leaders alone he is streets ahead of what the others offer.

    1. ahjayzis

      The guy opened the hall in my school as Minister when I was in fifth class.

      No one that tainted, spent and visionless gets my vote.

  2. Jimmy 2 tones

    He is 100% correct with regards to RTE & the general media being paid what to say. FG are hated but the media will tell you otherwise.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      “He is 100% correct with regards to RTE & the general media being paid what to say.”

      I well and truly love that line. And I read it without wearing my protective tinfoil hat too….

      “paid” ….just brilliant ! :)

  3. ollie

    “If the people of this country don’t want to be Portugal, don’t want to be Spain, don’t want to be paying higher interest rates, do want to have an actual Government, ”
    Proof if proof wee needed that RTE and Aine Lawlor are the mouthpiece and lackeys of Fine Gael.

    She must have gotten the call from Facist HQ to begin operation “scare the s h I t out of the electorate”.

    1. ReproBertie

      The reference to Spain and Portugal was to the fact that their 2015 elections resulted in hung parliaments with nobody able to form a lasting government. Spain are heading to another election this year and Portugal currently have a minority government after the first government fell within a fortnight of being formed.

      Martin was being asked if he would do the expected thing and form a government with FG, as that is what the polls suggest as the most likely outcome of this election, or if he would let us have a hung parliament and another election in a few months.

      That you see this question as evidence of RTÉ being a FG mouthpiece is down to your own biased perception (and we all have a biased perception). FG get asked the same question on RTÉ and on the streets by journalists every day.

      1. ahjayzis

        Our constitution prevents a Belgium situation where a hung parliament stays hung for ages – there’s a time limit, form a government or go back to the people.

      2. ollie

        repro, my bias is more a deep feeling of disgust for having voted FG and Labour in 2011.
        Fool me once, shame on you.
        Fool me twice, shame on vous

  4. Tish Mahorey

    Aine Lawlor is there to appeal to the middle aged south county Dublin women who spend their days ordering the nanny around. She’s needy and annoying.

    1. ollie

      tish, as with all other RTE staff, she rolled in to Montrose over 20 years ago which means that she gets work, regardless

  5. Funster Fionnanánn

    I dislike Micheal but he had a point here. The one o clock news on rte radio is tight for time and seems to push an aggressive and overly pushy tone.

    I know politicians can just bluster and not answer anything but it’s so obvious what the interviewer is trying to do. It’s so clunky and unprofessional. Like they are trying to catch out the politician and maybe make a primetime special out of some chunk of nonsense they have tricked out of them.

    Easier to not listen to it. It’s painful from both sides.

    1. ahjayzis

      I kind of see their point though.

      Fianna Fail are insisting they’re the alternative government. Fianna Fail is refusing to coalesce with either one of the two other large parties. They’re not even running enough candidates for an overall majority, even if all of them were to win a seat.

      So either they’re lying to us, or they have no intention of ever being in a position to implement their manifesto and running for largest Opposition party – there’s nothing wrong with pointing out that if we’re to take what Meeeeehawl says as truth, he’s either not done the maths or is planning a military coup, because FF cannot and will not form a government without SF or FG. They’ll be thirty to forty seats short FFS.

      But it’s also fair enough to say its increasingly looking like FG are facing the same problem, a majority with Labour is now out of the question.

  6. Kieran NYC

    I do think there’s an annoying trend for media everywhere to focus on the electoral process (and how many more times can Martin answer the coalition question, in fairness?) rather than grilling someone on policy. Is anyone the wiser after hearing them squabble about hypotheticals when they could highlight policy differences (or perhaps the lack thereof) instead? Not like this is a long, leisurely election.

    1. ReproBertie

      What do the policies matter? All the manifestoes will be tossed aside when it comes to the post-election negotiations.

    2. ahjayzis


      It’s being completely ignored that Fianna Fails health plan is to return to the status quo in say 2006 – when we still had an A&E crisis. Shovelling money at the HSE isn’t a fix, they should really have learned that by now, they tried it for long enough.

  7. Robby Cook

    “Easier to not listen to it. It’s painful from both sides.”

    After years of listening to likes of Ivan Yates newstalk back in 2010, b4 he f’d off for a bit,
    I finally switched it of few years back, a top 10 life decision.

    In facto I should not even be here.

  8. 15 cents

    every transcript of an interview with any election runners always has lots of ‘talks over each other’ .. theyre as fuppin rude the lot of em. lack of manners is not endearing to the public. they shouldve learned that from the online response to the first leaders debate. but they didnt .. coz they dont listen .. we are ants to them, ants they temporarily need once every 5 years. then after that, back to irrelevant ants again. FF and FG have showed a disdain and contempt for us that im not at all comfortable with. but theres nothing i can do, i cant tell them that, coz they dont field questions from the public, so im just guna .. i dunno .. egg the Dail .. out of frustration, its the only thing i can think of to do. nothing will get thru to them anyway, so may as well just vent.

  9. Martin Heavy-Guy

    These slime sold our country to the IMF after 20 years of corruption and laughed away with state pensions. Martin has not answered that question, and still won’t because he’s trained to duck questions (regardless of reporter).

    I couldn’t care less if the “Fascist FG” are controlling the media, we all get our news from the internet anyway (e.g. Broadsheet). FG are mostly tripe, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before any of those blithering FF clowns gets my vote.

    I wish them all horrible rashes and wish to Christ they’d just pi$$ off to the Cayman Islands where they can die in peace with the money they stole from us and give us all a break from their objectionist nonsense.

    1. Jimmy 2 tones

      Agree 100%. You can throw FG into all that aswell, they were right behind FF all the time. Both corrupt.

    2. ahjayzis

      Remember those halcyon days after the last election where people were seriously talking about winding Fianna Fail up altogether? One can dream… there’ll always be a core vote of jabbering fupping idiots.

  10. ollie

    According to Edna on TG4 tonight rural crime is down 30% and there are an extra 3,000 gardai on the streets.
    I’ve checked these facts out and they are true, according to a pint I met with a man in each hand.

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