There will be “strong” public support for Micheal Martin to become taoiseach again after the next election, a Fianna Fail junior minister has said.

Jack Chambers said that he saw “huge warmth and support” for Mr Martin’s leadership while canvassing during the local and European elections.

Mr Chambers, who was the party’s director for the local elections, also said that Sinn Fein’s lacklustre result was not a failure of strategy, and more a “rejection of Sinn Fein’s message”.

He also joined the number of senior Fianna Fail figures who have criticised internet panel polling in the wake of a strong performance from the party in the local and European elections.

Fianna Fail and Fine Gael will become the largest parties in local government, while Fianna Fail is also expected to increase its number of MEPs from two to three.

Fianna Fail figures have praised Mr Martin’s leadership as part of the reason for its strong performance.

Mr Martin said his party had done “far better than predicted”, and that “the moral of the story” of the elections is that polls should not be taken as “gospel”.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Mr Chambers agreed: “I think polling is having a disproportionate impact on the wider public narrative about party support.

“I think we have to be more balanced in our assessment or when we hear about the margin of error of polls, if the polling companies now set out that the margin of error is plus or minus 8%, maybe that’s a more accurate margin of error.”

He said he did not panic when polls put the party at the mid-teens, but said it was “frustrating at times” to have to respond to a “national narrative” about the party’s position.

Asked about whether he thought Sinn Fein ran too many candidates, Mr Chambers said their lacklustre performance was not a “failure of electoral strategy” but a rejection of the party’s political offering.

“This was a rejection of Sinn Fein’s message: negative, shallow, divisive politics, which is more about protest than then bringing positive solutions for people.

“People want hope and positivity and opportunity for progress on many issues, and Sinn Fein have become experts on diagnosing the problems but putting forward very little alternatives or solutions that people want to actually vote for or believe is possible.”

Asked about Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald’s comments that incumbent candidates were challenging for new candidates, Mr Chambers said “they’re picking kind of marginal factors as an excuse”.

“They’ve had a complete collapse and a devastating result when you compare 25% in 2020, to 12% in 2024 in the local elections.”

Tanaiste Micheal Martin speaking to the media (Damien Storan/PA)

He said of Mr Martin: “Within our party but also amongst the wider public, there’s enormous support for his leadership, his delivery and issues and his backbone across many areas of leadership he’s brought as a minister and as taoiseach.

“I think there’ll be strong public support for Micheal Martin to be taoiseach in the aftermath of the next general election, and our party are absolutely unified behind him.

“That’s what I think will be a strong proposition come the next general election.”

Asked whether he would consider himself as a future leader of Fianna Fail, Mr Chambers said: “As I’ve said previously, my absolute support is for Micheal Martin as leader.

“Down the line for another day, that’s something to consider at that point.”

Part of the party’s strategy for the local elections was preparing early, completing and progressing tickets in many electoral areas “much earlier than in 2014 and 2019”, Mr Chambers said.

He added that they also ran “tighter” tickets compared to 2019, but made sure they we’re “competitive”.

“We engaged early with candidates about their local campaigns, their engagement and how they plan and scale up their activity and their grassroots momentum months in advance.

“I think that has borne out good results in many electoral areas.”

Mr Chambers said that Irish politics is “aligning closer to European norms” and that there is a larger block of floating voters than there has been before.

“We forensically prepared this for the last year with strong tickets and good candidates and grassroots campaigns, matched with a national policy and message about bringing positive delivery within communities,” he told PA.

“We showed determination, resolve and confidence in our tickets and in our candidates about their ability to deliver and to get elected.

“I think that strategy of not panicking, and not reacting to polling numbers, and actually being focused on the grassroots campaign and engaging with voters… I think that’s what voters have responded to.”

He said there was a “serious issue” at how polls are “dominating the narrative” in Irish politics.

He said Fianna Fail had examples of new people being elected which would “sows the seeds of a whole new generation of public representatives for our party” adding that he expected many to go on to become TDs.

“There’s vibrancy, there’s youth and I think it all centres around people within communities wanting politicians that are positive about the future and trying to get a progress on core issues rather than having an alternatives that complains, talks about change, but doesn’t say what that actually means.”