Last night, the Fianna Fáil Árd Chomhairle did me the honour of electing me Úachtarán Fhianna Fáil. I sought the leadership of Fianna Fáil because I believe that our Party has a unique and positive role to play in our country's future.
In a rush to dismiss and stereotype Fianna Fáil, our opponents have always missed the true spirit which has been central to our support. Our party was founded by a revolutionary generation which understood the need for a radical change in both its programme and its approach to politics. At our core we are a republican and nationalist party, and that commitment remains at the centre of what we believe.
Fianna Fáil has always believed in a sensible middle-way, which understands that a commitment to both economic growth and social progress must go hand-in-hand.
In the coming election, the public deserve a campaign which is as serious and comprehensive as the issues to be decided.
Fine Gael and Labour don't want an election - they want a coronation, and I am determined they will not get away with this. We will meet them everyday in this campaign, by offering real plans to lead Ireland to a better future.
I will be initiating a full national tour in order to take our message to every part of the country. To you, our members, I ask you to work to ensure that Fianna Fáil candidates are elected in this, one of the most important election campaigns in our nation's history.
I know the task ahead will not be easy.
But I have never shrunk from difficult decisions before, and I promise you that we will meet this challenge with a campaign as vigorous and full of ideas as any Fianna Fáil has ever waged.
Ar aghaidh le Fianna Fáil.
Micheál Martin TD.
Úachtarán Fhianna Fáil