By Cillian Sherlock, PA
Fianna Fáil Minister Dara Calleary has refused to confirm that he will back party leader Micheál Martin into the next general election.
Mr Calleary, who was formerly the deputy leader of Fianna Fáil, was asked by RTÉ’s Drivetime radio programme if there was any doubt that Mr Martin was the person to lead the party into the next general election.
Briefly struggling for words, Mr Calleary said: “We, ah, that is, we’re having a superb government record at the moment.
“We’re working very hard. There continues to be many challenges, the next election’s a long time [away].
“Everybody’s head is on the challenges.”
It was put to Mr Calleary that he had not emphatically responded “yes”.
He said: “I’m not going to take your bait … when it comes to politics and political gossip.”
Mr Calleary previously resigned as agriculture minister in August 2020 over his attendance at the golf society dinner in Galway, while the country was under strict Covid-19 restrictions.
He returned as Minister of State in 2022, with Mr Martin saying Mr Calleary “paid a heavy price” and had helped ensure continued trust in Government after the controversy.
The event in August 2020 caused a political storm, leading to a number of high-profile resignations including that of Mr Calleary and former European commissioner Phil Hogan.