Micheál Martin hits out at "personal, nasty and unkind" newspaper column 2 weeks ago

Micheál Martin hits out at "personal, nasty and unkind" newspaper column

The Taoiseach said that the column, which criticised the appearance of Fianna Fáil members, is "an attempt to demean women who take politics seriously".

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has strongly criticised a newspaper column that mocked the fashion choices of Fianna Fáil party members.

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Published in yesterday's edition of the Irish Mail on Sunday (12 September), Niamh Walsh's 'Manifesto' column took sartorial aim at several of the attendees at last week's Fianna Fáil gathering in Cavan.

"Some of the outfits on show at Fianna Fáil's think-in at the Slieve Russell hotel in Cavan have no place in public full stop – never mind politics," Walsh began, adding that "appearance matters if you want to be taken seriously".

From there, Walsh name-checked Niamh Smyth, Erin McGreehan, Fiona O'Loughlin, Minister for Education Norma Foley, Barry Cowen, Willie O'Dea and Darragh O'Brien, pouring various shades of scorn on their respective looks.

"Micheál Martin's mantra du jour is 'lessons must be learned'," Walsh continued.

"Well, how about you put your last season's loafers where your lectures are and begin by packing the fashion failures in your party off to style school.

"Let's test just how progressive you really are if the fashion failures amongst your ranks can graduate from Downright Disaster to Appropriately Attired."

Senator Erin McGreehan addressed her inclusion, noting her hurt reaction on Twitter on Sunday evening.

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"I don't know what is wrong with another human being that they could be so blatantly horrible to another human being," McGreehan wrote.

"I am very upset by this. I'm not going to pretend words don't matter. They do. Words and actions and attitude are everything and it is how people should be judged."

Offering his support to McGreehan and other affected party members, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin blasted Walsh's column, questioning its nature.

"Why the need for such a personal, nasty and unkind article?" the Taoiseach wrote.

"An article written in an attempt to demean women who take politics seriously, and work hard to make people's lives better."

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Martin's fiery response came on the heels of a new public opinion poll that illustrates a significant rise in popularity for rival party Sinn Féin.

The poll also revealed that overall satisfaction with Government has dropped to 42%.

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