Micheál Martin names Jack Chambers as Fianna Fáil's deputy leader

19 Jun 2024

Tanaiste and leader of Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin (front) with the party's new deputy leader, Jack Chambers TD. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Jack Chambers - Figure 1
Photo The Irish Times

Micheál Martin has named Minister of State Jack Chambers as Fianna Fáil’s deputy leader.

The party has not had a deputy leader since the resignation of Dara Calleary in August 2020.

The Tánaiste made the announcement outside Government Buildings in Dublin on Wednesday evening.

The move will inevitably prompt speculation that Mr Martin is nominating Mr Chambers as his preferred successor whenever he decides to step down as party leader. Party sources played down that interpretation, however, pointing out that the party’s electoral college arrangements mean that candidates for the leadership have to campaign among the party membership, diminishing the influence of the previous leader.

Nonetheless, Mr Chamber’s elevation to the role is indicative of how highly Mr Martin rates him. He was the director of elections for the party’s local election campaign, which saw it win the highest number of seats to retain its standing as the largest party of local Government. As chief whip when Fianna Fáil held the Taoiseach’s office, Mr Chambers worked closely with Mr Martin. Since then, Mr Chambers has remained at the Cabinet table in a super junior role at the Department of Transport.

Jack Chambers - Figure 2
Photo The Irish Times

In the event of a vacancy in Cabinet – for example, if Michael McGrath were to be appointed European Commissioner next week, as many around Government expect – Mr Chambers would likely be in line for promotion.

First elected to the Dáil in 2016 to the Dublin West seat once held by the late Brian Lenihan, Mr Chambers served as chief whip 2020-2022, and as a junior minister in the Department of Transport since then. He qualified in medicine from the Royal College of Surgeons, and also holds a degree in law and political science from Trinity College.

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Pat Leahy is Political Editor of The Irish Times

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